According to the approved 2017-2018 University of California, Santa Barbara academic calendar, fall quarter, with three days off, has more holiday time than winter and spring quarters. Considering Veterans Day (Nov. 10) and the unofficial Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 23-24), there remains 49 days of instruction for the first installment of the academic year.
However, another of the 49 days is wasted on Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving. This is a day where many professors and teaching assistants cancel their lectures, sections or labs, respectively to allot for travel time. However, giving a day off is not a standardized practice; uncertainty surrounding whether or not teachers will give a day off makes planning ahead for matters like travelling even more difficult.
With that said, it is necessary to elucidate question marks surrounding the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. To remedy the problem of uncertainty, UCSB administration needs to set a concrete precedent on whether or not there will be still be instruction. Considering all the travel involved and the importance of the holiday, college campuses should extend the break to a five-day weekend.
Even though it may seem like a long intermission towards the end of the quarter, adding an extra day to Thanksgiving break will do a number of convenient things. First, tacking on another holiday will still place fall quarter within the required minimum of 48 days of instruction.
Additionally, this proposed fix would solve the issue of students having late lecture or section times on Wednesday. Having a mandatory evening class, or even worse, night lab, can severely restrict an individual’s travel plans the day before a national holiday. To avoid inconvenience, especially for out-of-state or international students, it is best to completely cancel all classes the day before Thanksgiving as to provide students with ample time to travel.
Having a five day weekend would also make plane tickets or ride share prices seemingly more affordable. Students could skip out on driving or flying back home during the Veterans Day holiday, opting to hit the road for only this extended break, which will save both time and money. Furthermore, going back a day earlier would make the trip more efficient since students will have an extra day out of school to do whatever they desire.
Another benefit of having an additional day off is the extra study time. Finals week is looming after the break, and it would be helpful to have an extra off day to get situated and prepare for the final stretch.
Just by announcing in advance a concrete schedule would alleviate the travel worries of students and their parents. It will enable holiday planning to be done more efficiently, as families can organize what they want to do immediately when the academic calendar is released. Thus, it is imperative that UCSB administration puts more standardized and unequivocal scheduling into effect for the holiday season.