Scouring websites for affordable plane tickets, Leslie Dominique was eager to reunite with her family in Atlanta, catch up on her favorite Netflix series and devour savory Haitian food. Upon her search, Dominique checked UM’s fall academic calendar as she was booking her ticket. To her surprise, she noticed that after Thanksgiving break, she will have just two days of class before jumping into finals.
Instantly, panic and frustration came over Dominique, a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. She then readjusted her plans and began to pack textbooks, a laptop and camera equipment, knowing that she would have to study and complete numerous assignments during the break.
“Everything is coming right after the other,” said Dominique. “Students should be using the break to take a breather and spend time with family, but because of the tightness of this year’s fall calendar, we’re basically forced to study and work on homework throughout the break.”
The UM community has expressed mixed reviews about this schedule.
“The academic calendar is a little unconventional for the students,” said Edward Julbe, a broadcast journalism professor at the University of Miami. “But because Thanksgiving comes later in the year, the registrar had to move things back to accommodate for that. However, I teach the same class with multiple lab sections, so I had to juggle the schedule around in order to get all the material gets covered due to how tight the calendar is this semester.”
Sade Prithwie, a senior studying human and social development and Spanish said she will be studying and doing work over the break. She also said she feels that this semester’s schedule was rushed and inconvenient.
“I can’t believe we are having two days of classes,” said Prithwie, “The timing doesn’t really add up, the administration is expecting us to do multiple things back to back with no air to breathe. I would’ve preferred to have just gone home for good.”
Esther Clode a senior from Sarasota, Florida, majoring in mechanical engineering said that the fall schedule mainly impacts students who live far from UM, because classes, the reading day and finals fall back to back.
“I’m not the biggest fan of the schedule but I also don’t live very far,” Clode said. “I can see how it is annoying for other students who have to fly home and how expensive it can become. I will be studying over the break but not too much. We still have the two days of class and reading day when we get back. It will sort of be like an extra long weekend.”
Paul McCarthy, the office manager of UM’s theatre arts department also said he felt that the schedule does not impact the staff since they are close to campus.
Through the examination of the registrar’s fall academic calendars in the past 10 years, there has been a stark trend: between the years 2009 to 2018, students were given a little over a week after Thanksgiving break before entering the final exam periods.
Also, from the years 2012 to 2009, students were given three full reading days. These days started from Saturday to Tuesday. However, from 2013 onwards, these reading days were cut down to only one day.
“I feel that students should be given more reading days to prepare like prior academic years,” Prithwie said. “Expecting us to study and prepare ourselves for finals all in just one day seems unrealistic.”
Most students will return to campus at the end of Thanksgiving break on Sunday, Dec. 1. The official end date of classes is Tuesday, Dec. 3 and the reading day is on Wednesday Dec. 4. The start and end dates for the final examination period runs from Thursday, Dec. 5 to Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Many students hope that the schedule will be remodified in the coming semesters as stress levels continue to climb while final exams await in their classrooms.
The office of the university registrar did not respond to request for comment.