OPINION | Longer Thanksgiving breaks provides necessary recharge for students

Casey Wade, Staff Writer

(Nathan Rich)

Before Tulane University students make the annual pilgrimage home to devour turkey and spend time with their extended families, they must persevere through one final week. Students must endure class midterms, papers and projects due in the weeks approaching Thanksgiving before reaching a well-deserved break. 

At an academically rigorous institution like Tulane, it is not uncommon for students to experience academic burnout. This can be due to looming deadlines, lack of sleep and extreme pressure from themselves and others to perform at the top of their game. In order to curb burnout and recenter, students need longer breaks like Thanksgiving. 

  According to a study by the American Scientist, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.” For students to provide work that is to the best of their ability, they need time to digest what they have learned.

To digest course material, students need to feel relaxed instead of constantly overworked. Sophomore Sydney Wade said, “I feel like I am drowning in work. I have a cell neuro test and organic chemistry test this week, and I am just counting down the days until I can slow down for a second.” 

84% of Tulane students live out of state, so having the entire week off allows for smooth travel arrangements. For many students who live out of state, travel is only possible when they are given the entire week off. A full week allows for sufficient time to unwind compared to other universities that hold classes on Monday and Tuesday. Three days may provide enough time for a delicious meal and some family time, but it does not provide enough time to prepare for finals as well as relaxation. The full five days allows students to divy up their time between preparation and relaxation. 

Additionally, students with parents who could not attend Family Weekend may not have been able to spend time with family since the beginning of the semester. This break will provide the sometimes much needed comfort of home for many students. For example, junior Elyse Rice said, “I am from Seattle, so the flight home takes around six hours. My family was not able to come for parents weekend because of the long travel. I am excited to see my family for the first time since moving in and that wouldn’t be possible if Thanksgiving was a three day break.”

However, many students feel that over Thanksgiving they will just be playing catchup with their assignments. Final exams loom after Thanksgiving, and many students find it necessary to continue working over break. Tulane is helping students and faculty by providing a full week, so it is the student’s responsibility to divide their academic obligations and time with family or friends. 

Junior Olivia Barnes said “I already have tutoring lined up on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I have a final presentation the Tuesday after break, so I really cannot afford to unplug during my break.” Students may need to spend time focusing on exams and final projects, but hopefully the time off will prevent some cramming during finals season. 

Despite needing to spend some time to plan and study for finals, Thanksgiving break will hopefully allow students to recharge with a full eight hours of sleep, times with friends and family and a delicious meal!

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