Students looking forward to their next break at Thanksgiving may notice that it is not as long as they might expect, as classes are paused only for Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday.
This comes as quite a surprise to many students, although this two-day deal has been the standard at UTK for nearly a decade. Opinions on the matter are diverse, although most feel that lengthening the break would be heavily beneficial for students whose families live some distance from the university.
Adam Roddy, student body president of SGA and a senior in political science, said that he has plans to try to add Wednesday to the break in the near future. He does realize that the university will want to maintain the same number of school days, so he believes that a compromise may be necessary.
"This proposal will include having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off while still having fall break," Roddy said. "The compromise that may have to be made would be to add on an extra day at the end of the semester.
"I feel that students would like this idea, but I am still trying to gauge student opinion on that matter before any final decisions are reached," Roddy added.
Students such as Luke Dyson, sophomore in logistics, agreed.
"It makes sense," Dyson said. He added that they could start a day earlier, if it wouldn't affect Welcome Week activities.
Dyson's friend, Ben McKerley, a sophomore in industrial engineering, agreed about the straightforwardness of the proposition.
"I don't understand why it hasn't been done in the past," McKerley said. "Once you're in the swing of things, you don't know any difference between ending a day earlier or sooner."
McKerley also reflected on the difficulty of travel if you live far away.
"The first time my friend from Texas could go home last year was Christmas break," he said. "For anyone outside the Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga radius, you can't go home. It's just the pits."
Cayce Davis, sophomore in architecture, is from Arkansas. For him, traveling home can take a lot of the relaxation out of such short breaks.
"The 'break' part is a misnomer. It's a challenge getting home to central Arkansas and back in a span of four days, considering that I'm supposed to relax and hang out with my family, too," Davis said. "I wonder what it's like for people who live even further away or for international students."
UT is a bit behind on the curve here. Tennessee and Louisiana State University are the only SEC schools that do not give at least three days for Thanksgiving. Several schools, including the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University, give a whole week off to students. They do this by beginning exams two days later than UT.
This compromise can also help with another major issue — skipping. Luke Graham, undecided sophomore, thinks that most classes directly before Thanksgiving break would have light attendance.
"I think a lot of people will probably skip," Graham said. "On most breaks (people) who doesn't have anything major due or an exam are definitely going to skip. There will be less skips I think if we have that Wednesday off."
Some students, though, are content with the way things are at the moment. Robbie Liles, junior in communications, said that things are fine with her, even with travel times.
"It's not ideal, but I think we should keep it the same," Liles said. "Having to come back for finals, if it were longer ... it'd be hard to get back into the academic mindset.
"Part of me doesn't think the school (thinks) about it that way, though," Liles continued, speculating on why the schedule has been kept the way it is for the last ten years. "I'd be curious to know that."
The calendar committee, which decides things like holiday breaks and dates of exams, meets in the spring. Roddy hopes to propose his compromise when they meet.
"Any changes made could likely be observed by students in 2014 or 2015," Roddy said.