UK was a ghost town this weekend. There were likely more squirrels than human beings on university grounds. A lost but not forgotten feeling filled the corridors of every hallway and wind tunnel on campus — the feeling of UK getting something right.
The first year that UK implemented a fall break was 2019.
The then-associate provost for student academic life, Greg Heileman, said in a 2019 UKNOW article that the new break is a way for students to “decompress, rest, visit home and catch up on school work.”
For longer breaks, this is true. Students are able to visit their hometown friends and their family for a long weekend.
During fall break, there is a little extra time to plan fall activities that wouldn’t normally be possible during the week. Visiting pumpkin patches and haunted houses, as well as enjoying the changing of the leaves for a moment, finally has a place in the typical jam-packed student schedule.
Having the freedom of a break and letting students’ inner children play right after midterm season seems to be the perfect reset to keep the campus’ collective mental stability afloat.
This is especially important now that in-person studies are here to stay. Discussing the difficulties of being back to “normal” functions is worn out. But this doesn’t negate the fact that being in-person for work, school and any other responsibility a student may have is exhausting.
Students and professors needed this break.
Still, there’s one lingering issue that all college students know very well: schoolwork doesn’t stop on the weekends.
It also doesn’t help when professors give out assignments right before the beginning of a break while they still have their own boatloads of work to grade.
Classes may not have been in session for two days this week, but it’s hard not to feel the weight of take-home assignments and upcoming quizzes during any mid-semester break.
Heileman’s words ring true here. This break is great to catch up on work. At the same time, it seems silly to call something that involves work a break and having to schedule your supposed free time around assignments due once you come back to class.
This time typically spent in classes can now be used on schoolwork, with some spare time to have a bit of freedom.
Academic life is difficult, but it does feel nice to be on top of assignments and ready for the latter half of the fall semester.
Fall break is a great pause on classes, but it’s still a stretch to call this a break.
Students missed a fall break in 2020, as most of the UK population was already staying at home. Since many classes were online and professors teaching hybrid classes were lenient on in-person attendance, it made sense that UK did not see a need for one.
As important as it is to recognize the work students must complete over the break, here’s to hoping that they were also able to sneak in some “me time” and have a few adventures.
Let’s hope UK continues the trend of doing the right thing in the long run.