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OPINION: We need a fall break. Make your voice heard.


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Hunter McLaren

It's the eighth week of class in the fall semester. Students are likely out of class due to sickness, stressed about studying for multiple midterms or both. Students looking for a break from academia haven't had one since Labor Day and won't get another for seven more weeks, for Thanksgiving.

Even then, the respite offered by the break will be brief. Central Michigan University students are expected to come to class during the three days before Thanksgiving, providing little time to travel long distances home to family late at night or early in the morning, often in snowy conditions. Sounds relaxing, doesn't it?

Students get three days off of class in the fall semester, compared to eight days in the spring. That's not to mention that Thanksgiving break comes nearly at the end of fall semester, during week 14 of 16. For reference, spring break takes place after the seventh week of classes, meaning we'd currently be off for break if we had a similar break in the fall.

The idea of a fall break isn't a new one. Many other universities comparable to CMU already have one, and steps have been taken to get the break on CMU's academic calendar.

Last year, both the Student Government Association and Academic Senate supported a resolution proposing a three-day fall break be implemented in CMU's academic calendar. If implemented, the break would take place during the 2020-24 academic years.

If you're feeling stressed at this point in the semester, you're not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 85 percent of college students said they had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point. According to the American Psychological Association, there was a 30 percent increase of students seeking counseling appointments during years with just a 5 percent increase in student enrollment.

CMU has made strides to promote mental health on campus. Last year, the university made good on a promise to devote more resources to the counseling center after students asked for it. If the student body can make its voice heard, the university will listen.

If you'd like to have a fall break, make it known. Apply to make a public comment at the next Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 5 to say that you support the SGA legislation proposing a fall break. 

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