Head-to-head: I don’t need a break – Let’s get done with this semester early

More stories from Safiya White


2020 will go down in history as the year that completely changed our ideas of what “normal” looks like.

From masked strangers to ghost towns, to racial and political tensions and environmental disasters, nothing remains untouched. College students are in no way excluded from these challenges. In fact, college students may be among the most affected.

College years already do a wonderful job at creating fears about the future. Adding a pandemic to our list of worries is the icing on top of a bitter cake. The threat of the coronavirus has literally changed the face of college campuses. Events, housing, fees and more have been jumbled into a pot of uncertainty.

This semester, students were informed that we would not have our regular breaks throughout the fall. The plan was that all classes would be done by Nov. 24, before the Thanksgiving holiday. Final exams are to be taken online during the first week of December. After that, we would be done with the fall semester until the Spring 2021 semester begins. This is all in hopes of keeping the students and faculty safe for the expected spike in COVID-19 cases during the winter months.

I understand why many students may have issues with this plan. Who doesn’t love a good break after putting in so much energy into classes and extracurricular activities? Who doesn’t need a few days of rest after commuting back and forth to school, working jobs and balancing hours of study time? We all look forward to these breaks for our own sanity. Trust me, as a junior who has been in college for a while, I totally get it. In a normal situation, I would be frustrated about it too.

This is not a normal situation, though. Time and safety are both invaluable, especially this year.

So, in the midst of all the problems we are facing, let’s look at the positives. Classes will be finished early, and then we will have over a month until the spring semester. This means we have more time to enjoy being out of school. This means more time for improving our mental health and unplugging from all the craziness that has happened in 2020. This also means we have more time to prepare for the upcoming new year. Hopefully, the new year will be much better than this one.

Safety and health are also positives in this case. Students won’t have to spend any unnecessary time in school and risk more exposure to COVID-19. This is my favorite part about the changes in the schedule. Ultimately, we have to think about the bigger picture. That big picture is keeping everyone healthy and alive. In order to do that, many of us may have to experience some discomforts and disruptions, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.

Through all of this, I see an important lesson in adaptation. When times get tough, it is important to learn how to adapt. In the simplest of cases, this can mean gaining a new perspective. In the most extreme cases, like the one we are experiencing now, I think adaptation makes all the difference in quality of life. How we choose to change according to our current circumstances can really make a huge difference.

With that being said, extra school breaks are the least of my concerns. I’m good with being done early. I can take advantage of the free time and stay safe while doing it.


Read the other side of this head-to-head here.