Luther College Chips

Breaks should be breaks

Elyse Grothaus, News Editor

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What was I most thankful for this Thanksgiving? That my professors did not use the excuse of five days off to slam me with extra assignments. I feel fortunate this semester to have professors who respect the sanctity of breaks. I have not always been so lucky.

In the past, I have had experiences where large papers, presentations, and even midterms are scheduled for the week I return from break. While I understand that professors are trying to respect their students’ sanity by piling on a little less the week before vacation, I remember one semester where this backfired and caused all of my midterms to take place right after spring break. The result was that I spent my entire time off stressed out and studying. After four years in college, I can honestly say that I would rather suffer a little more the week before a break and be able to completely enjoy my time off than suffer a little less before break only to continue suffering during my five days at home.

There are some very practical and easy steps that professors can take in order to eliminate added stress on their students. First of all, professors can easily talk to students on syllabus day about when they would prefer to schedule exams and large papers or projects. One professor I have this semester uses what she calls a “rolling due date” to give her students more flexibility when turning in projects and papers. Most recently, she gave us the option to turn in our large semester project either the Monday before break, the Monday after break, or the Wednesday after break. I know my class appreciated this approach as some people hurried to finish their assignment before leaving, while others (myself included) planned to use time at home to complete the project.

“I would like to urge professors to never assign extra work over break. It is unfair to assume that their students will even be around or able to complete extra work.”

– Elyse Grothaus (‘19)

This is not to say that vacations should never be spent doing homework. I assure you that I did my fair share of time in front of the computer last week! However, I think that break should be used as an opportunity to catch up on work or even to work ahead before the madness of Christmas at Luther and final exams ensues. I would like to urge professors to never assign extra work over break. It is unfair to assume that their students will even be around or able to complete extra work. In fact, they should forget that there are extra days before the next class and only assign what they would expect students to finish between classes on a normal week. Or they could assign nothing at all. I wouldn’t mind that!

Breaks are important for everyone. They allow time to de-stress, spend time with family and friends, and eat good food. I know that I would not be able to make it through the semesters without them! So, professors, please allow your students to use breaks as they are intended: a break.

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