OPINION: Gentle Thursday and Friday will be missed
New students at Central Michigan University will not get the chance to appreciate the two days off before exams this year, known as Gentle Thursday and Friday.
According to CMU’s “campus traditions” listed on its website, Gentle Thursday and Friday were established in 1960 by Program Board to give faculty and students time off before spring final exams.
Students will not have those two days of grace before tasked with proving our academic worth this semester. This is because in 2013 the Academic Senate approved the change to the academic calendar to move the days to Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1.
Gentle Thursday and Friday were lifesavers during my freshman and sophomore years. Until they came, I never knew how much I needed the extra days to catch up on life and studying. In the past I used the days to study all night, and take an extra moment to breathe in between frantically quizzing over flashcards and making a sixth cup of coffee.
Let’s be clear: Gentle Thursday and Friday were not “moved” — they were taken away. The point of the two days off was formed by a student organization to give students a break at a pivotal time in their college careers — before final exams. The timing of the days is crucial. If Gentle Thursday and Friday don’t exist before final exams, it’s impossible for them to occur on a different date.
The decision to “move the days” was made in order to have Gentle Thursday and Friday coincide with the spring break of the Gratiot-Isabella school districts, giving faculty and staff the same time off as their children in that district.
I’m all for helping out parents care for their kids, but at a university, taking away valuable study time for students shouldn’t happen to make a few professor’s lives slightly more convenient.
In a Board of Trustees meeting, President George Ross said the change of dates should not effect students’ ability to study for finals. He said we should study for three hours per credit hour each week, and throughout the semester.
The expectation that I should have enough time to go to all of my classes, study outside of class, hold a job to pay for college and gain necessary experience in my field and maybe keep up with my health is unrealistic.
Ross’ statement shows how out of touch the university is with students, which is probably the main reason the dates for Gentle Thursday and Friday changed.
“I think (during) the course of a 16-week semester, hopefully, students would have studied three hours per hour in class each week throughout the semester,” Ross said at the Feb. 18 Board of Trustees meeting.
Of course I will utilize the extra time the best I can, but it’s not the same. I will be hurting from not having those two days off when I need them most.
I get it — I’m lucky to be able to go to college in the first place; this is what I signed up for. Traditions ought to be analyzed and improved. However, having Thursday and Friday off before finals — a seemingly small gesture — was a huge help to me and many other students.