Opinion: Wednesday before Thanksgiving should be canceled
Thanksgiving is probably one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas or Hanukkah. For college students, this holiday marks more than just seeing family and friends and eating a gluttonous amount of food. It’s likely their first time home all semester.
For out of state freshmen especially, Thanksgiving break is one of the most anticipated weekends of the school year. They book their flight home before the semester even starts to make sure they can get a flight for an affordable price.
Their six-hour flight is booked for early Wednesday morning, to maximize their time spent at home and to adjust to the three-hour time change. It’s the week before Thanksgiving and their countdown is in the single digits when they suddenly realize, Oh no, I have class Wednesday at 5 p.m. Panic sets in. It’s too late to change the flight and if they miss class they get penalized. Okay, they think, maybe my professor will understand. I’m from across the country and I haven’t seen my dog in four months. Their professor doesn’t understand.
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‘If the university doesn’t think it’s fit to cancel classes the day before Thanksgiving, it’s my responsibility to hold class,’ they tell the shocked student. So, in an effort to keep their grade, students may pay hundreds of dollars to switch their flight and attend class. They get home around 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving day after having woken up at 2 a.m. Arizona time to compensate for the flight and time change.
Thanksgiving is, instead of being relaxing, a stressful, tiring weekend that almost doesn’t seem worth it. The student has a 9 a.m. class on Monday morning so they are leaving Sunday afternoon, having barely spent any time at all with their families.
This scenario happens to students every year at the University of Arizona. Classes aren’t cancelled the day before Thanksgiving, causing students whose professors don’t cancel class to be delayed on their way home to their families. Because Thanksgiving break doesn’t actually start until Thanksgiving, some students won’t be travelling home because they have class and can’t afford to fly home for less than three days.
This “break” strips students of the special time spent with their families. Students in long distance relationships cherish time with their boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s not fair for the university to force students to choose between an attendance grade or their families.
Cancelling classes the Wednesday before Thanksgiving wouldn’t harm anyone. Professors could still assign homework or hold optional classes for extra credit if they felt they really needed the extra time. Even students who live only a few hours by car can be delayed getting home. Instead of being able to spend all of Wednesday with their family and friends, students will be spending the day taking tests and going to class. This is a day meant to be spent with family, not traveling.
As someone who spent the first 16 years of my life traveling from Phoenix to Los Angeles on Thanksgiving day, I know how horrible it is. You have to wake up very early because of the traffic. You stop at a fast food place for lunch. Around 2 p.m., when all your friends are eating dinner, you’re eating In-N-Out, still hours away from your grandparent’s house. When you finally arrive, it’s 6 p.m. You have to get changed and see relatives you don’t recognize or friends of the family you don’t know. You can’t be cranky from the drive and you can’t complain about anything because it’s the day of thanks.
This is not a fun Thanksgiving. A fun Thanksgiving is not rushed, not tiring and not full of travel. The university forces students to have less than ideal Thanksgivings by not cancelling class earlier. Is one more 50 minute class really going to teach a student enough to warrant a stressful holiday?
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