Break-Up Fall with a Fall Break?

For many years, RU has given their students a break from classes over the entire week of the Thanksgiving holiday. Many other schools receive a fall break in October, or earlier in their semester, as well as getting off for national holidays. RU does not receive a break in October, nor does the school allow students to have the day off for holidays such as Labor Day. But do students mind the way their breaks are set up?

I set out to interview different RU students about thoughts on the idea of having a fall break prior to Thanksgiving. One student, Alhaji Bah (better known as “Baha”), is a transfer student at RU who is beginning his senior year at the university. Baha previously attended Virginia Union University where he and his fellow students received a fall break every October and also enjoying Thanksgiving break.

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“I feel like with all the knowledge that we get, all the homework, all the projects and exams, we as students need just a couple days off of school to give us a break.” Photo by: Sydney Crawson

“I feel like with all the knowledge that we get, all the homework, all the projects and exams, we as students need just a couple days off of school to give us a break,” stated Baha. From this statement, I gathered a trend from the multiple students I spoke to.

Another student at RU, Katelyn McKeen, a third year junior, didn’t care much about when a break was or how she would spent her time away from classes, as long as she had that time off.

“Having classes and work for so many hours each day is mentally draining sometimes. It would be nice to have a break from the stress,” she said.

How would a fall break at RU affect the professors and faculty? Professors rely on a strict academic calendar to plan their classes; unpredicted snow-storms that cause campus shut-downs directly affect their teaching plans. Would a fall break have the same type of outcome? Some faculty on hourly wages at the university wouldn’t have money from those particular days to rely on, on top of losing hours and money from the Thanksgiving holiday.

As I gathered through my casual chats, there are many differing opinions on the subject. Many RU students cherish the idea of having a fall break at the same time as the surrounding Virginia schools so they could spend their time off with friends attending elsewhere. But, when told their week-long Thanksgiving break would be shortened with the addition of an October break they gave second thought to the fall break idea.

The breaks implemented through Radford University’s academic calendar have worked without issue for the school for many years now, bringing me to the conclusion that our typical Thanksgiving break is here to stay. Generally, speaking on behalf of the interviewed students, that was quite enough for them.