Students heaved a collective sigh of relief during the winter semester of 2002, when it was announced that former Michigan Student Assembly President Matt Nolan and Vice President Jessica Cash successfully negotiated a Fall Study Break for the coming academic year.
The University became the first school in Michigan to have a Fall Break and the 20th out of the top 25 schools in the country to include a fall break in the academic calendar.
Scheduled for Oct. 14 and 15, the Fall Study Break was approved as two days intended for extra studying and decompressing prior to mid-term exams. The two days allow for students to have a four to five-day weekend for intense studying and paper writing.
But some students may use the break for more than studying.
“I’m going to Chicago to visit my sister and I’m pretty sure everyone is using it as a break,” LSA sophomore Julie Sprunk said. “But I’m pretty neurotic, so if I have work I’ll use it to study.”
“I’m definitely happy to have a fall break,” Law student Chris Brown said. “It’s going to add to my studying.”
While Brown, a native Californian, will be staying in the Ann Arbor region to continue his studies, he said “I think people will take trips, just do things locally like go to Canada or Chicago.”
“Whenever days are given off its always used for personal time,” Brown said.
LSA sophomore Jennifer Slosser said she’ll be staying on campus to take advantage of the free time to study for exams but she speculates what professors think of the two school free days.
“Professors expect students to take off. I think they know it’s our time, it’s our time off,” Slosser said.
The Fall Study Break became a major issue on the University campus in 1980, but MSA was unsuccessful in persuading the University Board of Regents to implement it.
It became a part of the agenda in the ’90s and was a major party platform when Matt Nolan and Jessica Cash ran for MSA president and vice president in 2001.
“Students are just churning out things when you get into early to mid-October because of the stress from the schoolwork and stuff,” Nolan said.
“The break benefits students by letting you catch up on sleep or studying. We found uniform data that said one of two things – students spend the extra time studying or they go home,” he added.
But with any major changes to the academic calendar it is inevitable that opposition would voice an opinion.
“There was a lot of worry from professors taking a day or two out of the class schedule, but I think that having 14 more productive class days as opposed to the 15 (with the day lost to fall break) is beneficial,” Nolan said.
Assistant English Prof. Joshua Miller said the addition of a fall break to the schedule did not disrupt planning for his classes.
“We’re just required to re-orient the class schedule,” he said.
Although students may spend the break relaxing, most will find some time to catch up on schoolwork, Miller said.
“I suspect that a lot of students will bring books or work on the train or in cars or maybe nothing if they’re that confident,” Miller said.
Nolan added that the Regents have already approved the academic calendar for the next several years and the break remains during the month of October.
“Something catastrophic would have to occur in order to change the schedule,” Nolan said.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *