Opinion: Not exactly a vacation

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Angela Loiacono

The University has officially deemed the week of Nov. 22 Thanksgiving Break. I, however, have renamed it National Work Week. I’m sure professors and my fellow students majoring in advanced-basket weaving will enjoy the week off. I, on the other hand, will be found with my face planted in a textbook.

Honestly, I think the faculty must belong to some type of underground organization. Perhaps it’s called the “How to make Thanksgiving vacation be anything but a break from school” club. The teachers swear allegiance to one another and hold meetings under a dim light in the basement of the library. Here, they hold a contest to see which teacher can assign the most amount of homework to students over break.

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It’s my genuine hope that this is a small exaggeration. Unfortunately, judging by the amount of books I’ll be shoveling into my bag for the trip home, one would think otherwise.

In an effort to stay afloat in my five classes, I will be researching and interviewing for a journalism project, reading hundreds of pages for anthropology, attempting to understand economics and completing my James Scholar project. And those are just the things I can remember. Others students I’ve spoken with have received surprise assignments. An extra seven chapters of reading casually assigned the week before break doesn’t seem fair.

Some might argue that having homework over break is the product of procrastination. Although that might be the case for some, it’s definitely not the case for others. Just about every student I know works hard to keep up with his or her daily class work. Unless students opt to skip a meal or stop sleeping, they have little room to work ahead to reduce their workload over break.

I used to think Thanksgiving Break would offer a little stress relief. Now, I feel as if I’m going to need to strap my computer to my side just to get by. What happened to enjoying a family holiday at home without any worries? I can picture it now. I’ll be helping my mom cook Thanksgiving dinner. While she’s busy chopping away at some vegetables, I’ll be stirring gravy with one hand and flipping the pages of my economics book with the other.

I have a feeling some professors have forgotten we are people first and students second. Thanksgiving is about spending time relaxing at home with your family. It’s about being thankful for the gifts in your life. It doesn’t have anything to do with school work. I think some teachers might have fallen victim to a common misunderstanding: Thanksgiving Break shouldn’t be synonymous with giving students additional work.

Now, I’m willing to admit this isn’t the case for all professors. There are several who have given students a sufficient amount of time to complete assignments that will be due after break. I commend these professors for their efforts. However, judging by the attitudes of many students I’ve spoken with, these teachers are hard to come by.

And if you don’t think homework over break is bad enough, just wait until you return to campus. Once students come back, they have exactly two weeks before finals start. It’s such a wonderful, cozy feeling to know that when you step back into Urbana-Champaign, it doesn’t just mean returning to school – it means locking yourself in the library to study. I know I can’t be stress-free over break knowing that upon my return I have five huge tests. My name already is gold-plated on an undergrad cubicle.

But I guess that’s the price we pay for celebrating a national holiday. Students can’t be too bitter though, at least we’ll get to see our family and friends, even if it is over the rim of a book.

Angela Loiacono is a sophomore in LAS. Her column runs Fridays. She can be reached at [email protected]