Spring break timing more convenient for Oregonians

Illlustration of people partying on spring break
Maya Williamson / The Mossy Log

Despite students’ desires for earlier break, late-term hiatus aligns better with Oregon school system

With spring break starting tomorrow and lasting a full week, it has come to my (and several others’) attention that Lewis & Clark’s spring break is rather late in the term. However, though it is far out in the semester, it should remain where it is on the calendar as it makes the most sense given the pacing of the term.  

One semester at LC is 15 weeks, and if the administration wanted to give students a week’s break, then perhaps the most logical time to do that would be during the middle of the term, i.e., around seven or eight weeks in. However, our break occurs after the 10-week mark, effectively giving us two disproportionate stretches of college life.

Some people are upset about this because 10 weeks of classes and assignments is a lot. I must admit that it would have been really nice to have a break sooner in the semester, as everything from classes begins to pile up. However, I, as a lifelong Oregonian, never thought that the timing of spring break was anything odd. The fourth week of March was always when spring break occurred throughout my primary education. 

That timing does make sense given the broader context of Oregon’s educational system. Elementary, middle and high schools in Oregon typically start in early September and go through the middle of June. I speculate, though I do not know for fact, that LC keeps to this timeline because it makes sense in the context of Oregon.

In contrast to Oregon K-12 schools, we get out in May, as do many other private colleges and K-12 schools in the rest of the country. This is what LC students point to when arguing that the timing should be changed. While it is true that we do not match our private institution counterparts, our spring break should stay the same because it is better to follow Oregon norms than private college norms.

One of the primary reasons is that for professors and staff with school-aged children, it is best for everyone to have the same week off. It allows parents to spend time with their families and children rather than having to arrange childcare.

Also, given that spring break is a full week off, whereas we only have two days for fall break (that is another issue entirely), class planning becomes difficult. With midterms happening in the middle of the term, it would be crowded to have midterms at week seven or eight, but with a week off right in the middle of that.

Having spring break after week 10 gives professors time to get midterms graded and then have a break. I think I am not alone in feeling that the middle of the term feels very full with classes, jobs and extracurriculars. It is nice to get the busy part over with so we can have a relaxing break. 

Does it really matter that other out-of-state colleges have their spring breaks sooner? How does that affect LC and its population when they often have no associations with these colleges across the country? All Oregon’s state universities have spring break in this same late-March timeframe, and it is better if all schools sync calendars between states, as opposed to similar types of institutions, because it is the best way to ensure uniform operation on the part of colleges, schools, Oregon government, teachers and parents. 

I know I said that it would be nice to have a break earlier in the semester. After all, our fall break aligns more with the center of the term. But, in the grand scheme of things, and for the sake of scheduling around classes and midterms, what is a matter of two weeks, give or take? 

I may have my own selfish reasons for wanting spring break to stay where it is. My birthday is during the fourth week of March (Mar. 25), and it has always coincided with spring break. I have never gone to school on my birthday and so I have the best birthday present: a week’s vacation. I am a spring break baby. It is one of the most interesting things about me. Do not take that away from me. 

So, even though it may seem like spring break is rather late in the term, it is best to keep it where it is.  

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