Column: College students deserve a longer Thanksgiving break


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Clémence Daniere, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving break is a welcome rest for most college students. This is time spent with friends and family, eating home-cooked meals and sleeping in is finally an option. Work-wise, it allows students to get time to breathe between classes, assignment deadlines and other responsibilities. However, is this break actually long enough for college students to be able to enjoy time off?

During the fall semester, students only get six full days off of school, which only means that classes are not in session that day. However, this doesn’t mean work can’t be assigned beforehand. Workloads are amplified for students during the days following days off in order to stay on track with the semester. This means that students, even during alleged breaks, don’t get to relax and take time for themselves. 

I personally haven’t gotten time to breathe over this Thanksgiving break. School follows college students home. Having classes Monday and Tuesday allows professors to assign work during break. This has been made easier with the use of online spaces now, due to everyone making the transition to online for COVID-19, professors now have access to students’ time even during a so-called break. This time off that is meant for students to spend quality time with family becomes a game of catch-up with all of the school work that is assigned before and after. 

Not to mention, finals are so close to Thanksgiving break that students feel the urge to spend time with their textbooks and laptops and away from loved ones who they have waited to see for months. A time that is supposed to be taken to express gratitude and love to friends and family is overruled by school-related stress and anxiety. Thanksgiving break is simply not long enough for school-induced stress to be alleviated. 

This three-day break also doesn’t factor in the time of travel and cost that college students have to endure to go home to their families. Although some students are lucky enough to commute and spend less time on the road, others have to factor in air travel or long road trips in order to get home during break. Some students even have several destinations to get to due to big families, which can and most likely will add extra stress to their travels. 

According to the American Psychological Association, 61% of college students seeking counseling report anxiety, and 45% report stress concerns. The infrequent breaks that college students get in college are undoubtedly not helping these numbers. Frequent breaks have been proven by The Wellbeing Thesis to increase productivity and wellbeing as well as lowering overall stress. These frequent breaks can be beneficial short-term, such as taking time during long study sessions, but also long-term, which is what an extended Thanksgiving break could achieve.

With stress being at an all-time high in college students, it’s obvious that a longer Thanksgiving break would not only be beneficial for mental health, but also for higher achievements. This would allow students to be well-rested and achieve higher mental clarity before embarking on finals week. 

Students simply need time to rest and sleep in, enjoy the company of their loved ones, and take their minds off of school-related responsibilities. A three-day break doesn’t allow us to do that. Having the full week off on Thanksgiving would allow students to take time for themselves, see their families and even enjoy an extra plate of leftovers long after everyone has gone home.