We need to talk about the schedule for this semester because, frankly speaking, it is terrible. I was surprised over the summer when I saw that this school year would not start until September, when traditionally, we have always started in late August. I was further surprised when I saw that the official end of the fall semester was not until Dec. 20, which is incredibly late and leaves little time for students to get home before Christmas begins, while students who celebrate Hanukkah do not get to celebrate at home at all.
Further, now that finals are approaching, I looked at the finals schedule more closely, and it is very odd. Classes end on a Tuesday, our two reading days are on Wednesday and Thursday and finals occur on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, with the end of the semester on a Wednesday. To me, this is a completely ludicrous schedule and makes absolutely no sense.
The more I started to think about this semester as a whole, the more I think this is one of the most bizarre schedule configurations Lewis & Clark has ever had. Some of my biggest problems with this schedule are that we started the Tuesday after Labor Day, thus pushing our semester later into the year, and the fact that our “Fall Break” was only a Friday, making it not a break but a long weekend. My final complaint is that we have finals on a weekend.
I am aware that LC has long had a history of unconventional scheduling and that complaints about finals and Fall Break are nothing new. However, these complaints point to a larger systemic issue. Why is LC’s schedule always so problematic? I’m unsure of
who makes the finalized schedule, but whoever it is should be more strategic. I have two simple tips that would make the semester schedule so much better for everybody.
Make an official dead week
I have long been a proponent of the fact that students need more than two “reading days” to study for finals. There are so many things that students need to do in the time before finals other than just reviewing class notes, that I do not know how two days are supposed to be enough. We have to finalize projects, talk with our professors about grades, write papers, make study guides and actually study. All that cannot be done in two days. Stop being cowards and make it a whole week already.
Stop having finals on Saturdays
This is my first time having a final on a Saturday and it seems supremely silly that the administration feels completely comfortable asking not only students but also professors to come in on their weekends to do class work. That is not right because weekends are for people to relax and not have to think about their work. Further, because it is a Saturday in the middle of December, people might celebrate the holidays with friends and family. For example, my dad’s extended family is getting together in the Portland area for the first time since 2019, which would be perfect for me to attend, except that my final, from 1-4 p.m., is directly in the middle of the event. Make finals Monday through Thursday.
Maybe I am just ignorant of administrative struggles and making a perfect semester schedule is more complicated than I can imagine. However, I cannot see how the tips above would not be easy to implement. In any case, something needs to change because I do not want to go home five days before Christmas. That is simply not enough time. If anything, just fix that.
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