Fall Break: Later is Better


Bridgewater College

Fall Break 2022 gave students a long weekend, with a Monday and Tuesday out of classes. Because of the schedules and travel time for student athletes, out-of-state students and international students, not everyone is able to adequately enjoy the short period of vacation.

Jaia Dunbar, News Editor

Bridgewater College cancels classes every fall semester at the end of September or beginning of October so that students can have a four-day “break.”

While fall break is a breather from attending classes, it is not a time off from completing school work.

Many students, including myself, feel like it makes more sense for fall break to be towards the middle of the semester after midterms week.

Trying to enjoy fall break feels impossible when you have to spend most, if not all, of those days studying for exams, writing papers or completing projects.

Having fall break so close to the beginning of the semester seems redundant, especially because it leaves a longer interval between returning to campus and Thanksgiving.

There are some students who are unable to go home for fall break due to many situations such as work, sports and distance, so having some downtime in the middle of the semester would allow them to have a long weekend to celebrate being halfway done and to do something just for themselves.

Fall break being later would also allow for students who cannot go home to get past the initial stressors of the semester, as well as from work, practice, games and life that come from the beginning of the semester and take some time to process everything and breathe.

In a survey completed in 2020, 87% of students said that their education was a significant source of stress.

Breaks allow for better performance on school work and exams because downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity and is essential to both achieving our highest levels of performance and forming stable memories in our everyday lives.

Since Bridgewater has a family weekend in September and five days off for Thanksgiving in November, it would be nice to have some sort of time to spend with family nearly once a month during the fall semester. In other words, later in October.

On the other hand, rather than having fall break later, Bridgewater could have a few three-day weekends dispersed throughout the semester to give students time to rest.

Since professors have the option to assign work over break and some students prefer to use breaks to catch up or get ahead, having an extra day enables everyone to receive at least one day of rest.

Bridgewater’s students are from 25 states and 25 countries. It can be hard to appreciate a break if you are spending the majority of the break traveling to or from campus.

Having those three-day breaks would be beneficial to students who cannot go home, as it could provide them with mini breaks to take care of themselves without getting too overwhelmed.

In another study, 85% of college students reported that they felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point.

More breaks mean more opportunities for students to catch their breath from the semester or at least have the opportunity to put themselves first if even for a few hours or a day.

Short breaks also mean professors do not have to worry about students readjusting to the normal routine of classes again or missing class due to travel issues returning to campus.

Regardless of whether we have one four-day weekend following midterms, or a few three-day weekends dispersed throughout the semester, having a break in the middle of October would be beneficial for students, faculty and staff alike.