Science & Technology Editor
I honestly have no idea what you guys are getting so worked up about. So what if winter break is only two weeks long and school starts in October next year? This has been a hot-button issue for many of the people I’ve talked to lately, and I have to say that I don’t really see too much of a problem here. Not only will the new structure of the school year barely change anything, but it also has the potential to open students up to new opportunities that the previous system wouldn’t allow for.
By the new structure “barely changing anything,” I mean that summer is still functionally the same; we’re still ending school later than everyone else and starting later. The only thing that’s really going to be different (and still, not that much) is winter break, and that’s what I think most students are worrying about. “How can they shorten our winter break?” they cry out. “That’s not enough time for me to relax and rejuvenate so I’m ready for winter quarter! I can’t go on vacations! I don’t have time for all of both ‘Mad Men’ and ‘House of Cards’!”
To be blunt, when I hear these grievances, two words come to mind: “boo hoo.” I’m sorry you don’t have time to make a complete tour around all of Europe and then still have a week and a half to sit around the house and binge on food and TV. School breaks are designed to give us, well, a break from school and let us enjoy the holidays, not allow for any shenanigans we might have planned. We had three weeks this time and no one complained, so why is two so much worse? We only get one week for spring break and no one complains. Don’t take these respites for granted; summer break was originally invented to allow children to help with harvests in the olden days. Just be thankful you don’t have to pick carrots out of the ground and enjoy your two weeks.
“Ok, fine, I won’t complain,” they say. “But how can this be a positive for students?” Well, this explanation involves an anecdote. My freshman year, winter break was four sluggish, arduous weeks long. Not only did I end up bored out of my mind, but I had to sit anxiously and await going back to the brand new lifestyle, community, and friends that I had discovered over the past two months and then been torn away from for an extended holiday. It’s not easy for every new student to acclimate to college, and I think that shorter winter breaks can help freshmen as they start to learn the ins and outs of the college lifestyle.
There are other benefits too, ones I’m sure very few of you have thought of. For one, think about the new possibilities for summer internships and jobs. I’m sure a few of you have noticed that being let out for school late can make it difficult to get positions over students who can begin working in early-to-mid May. Well, with extra time added to the end of summer, UC students have new leverage in this department. We may start late, but we can work for much, much longer than others.
It’s a short winter break and a long summer. It isn’t the end of the world, you guys. I think everyone is going to find that they mind these changes a lot less when it comes time to deal with them.