Thanksgiving Break is often the first time students return home after moving into their dorms in August. Although this break currently begins at noon the day before Thanksgiving, it would be more beneficial to the University community if the break started after the last class period the Tuesday before the holiday.
When Thanksgiving Break begins at noon on Wednesday, it is often difficult for students who live more than a few hours away to travel home in a suitable period of time. They are often forced to depart from Rochester in a tighter span of time if they want to attend all of their Wednesday morning classes and arrive home in time for the holiday. If the break began on Tuesday, students could have up to a whole extra day to spend at home. Additionally, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a notoriously expensive day to travel on, whereas that Tuesday offers much lower prices. Finally, and somewhat incongruously, the Eastman School of Music already gets the full Wednesday off.
Due to the College of Arts and Sciences’ current academic schedule, many students choose to leave before Thanksgiving Break officially begins, even if that means missing some classes. As a result, many professors choose to cancel class Wednesday anyway because they deduce there will most likely be low attendance. If UR were to begin Thanksgiving break on Tuesday instead, students would no longer have to choose between arriving home at a reasonable hour and attending class, and professors would not have to contend with a large number of absent students.
Additionally, a majority of classes meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, so most classes would still be able to have at least one session the week of Thanksgiving if break started on Wednesday. As it currently stands, with break starting after noon on Wednesday, some courses have one extra session, which is unfair to classes that meet throughout the rest of the week.
Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition for many families. It is a time not only to see family, but to also see friends who attend other schools, as nearly every college or university gives its students time off for Thanksgiving, whereas other breaks do not always match up. The trip home could be made much more manageable by simply starting the break half a day earlier.