Thanksgiving break is a time for celebrating and giving thanks with family and friends, but an unusually lengthy break can result in consequences for the remainder of the fall semester. Pushing Thanksgiving break back two days could benefit students in the long run and ease them back into classes after the break.
On Oct. 16, University Council’s Educational Affairs Committee met to discuss the possible shortening of the usually week-long break. Doing so would push the start date for Fall 2019 from Aug. 12 to Aug. 19, giving students an additional week to prepare and re-adjust to college life after a busy summer. This extension would benefit students since they wouldn’t have to sacrifice skipping the first day of class for their internships. It also doesn't hurt that starting later in August would mean one less week of commuting between classes in the summer heat.
The discussion also included the ideas to add a day to the final exam period which would shorten some exams, or the idea of eliminating Reading Day since there would be a weekend between the last day of classes and the first exam.
A shorter Thanksgiving break makes for a longer summer break and fewer constraints on students with summer jobs or internships with specific end dates. This change would also allow University of Georgia to start fall semester closer to the start dates of several other state universities like Georgia State and Georgia Tech.
Shortening Thanksgiving break may seem counterintuitive since UGA students and staff currently get a whole week off, more than the usual three days that other universities receive. However, a shorter Thanksgiving makes for more time over the summer and facilitates coordinating with friends who attend other universities. This alteration could also make planning family vacations easier for students who have siblings at other colleges since everyone would be on the same page.
Some may object to this change since some students have younger siblings who receive the whole week off for break, or they just want as much time as possible to spend with their families. Although most people would be tempted to take a whole week when given a choice, sacrificing those two days would enable finals week to take place over one week, Monday-Friday, rather than in the disjointed way it occurs now.