Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: Thanksgiving break needs to actually be a break for students

Snoopy+float+in+the+2022+Macys+Thanksgiving+Day+Parade.
Wikimedia Commons
Snoopy float in the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It’s already December and Thanksgiving break passed in the blink of an eye. In college, this pause is traditionally a time for students to relax and spend time with family and friends. 

Yet, delayed flights, rushed hellos and goodbyes and homework combined with stress is not what Thanksgiving or any college break should be about. 

The distance and high travel costs for just a few days can make it difficult for any international or out-of-state student to justify a trip home. As an international student, I don’t celebrate the holiday, but this year I took a leap of faith – and spent all my savings – to visit my family in Brazil instead of staying on campus. 

I’m not going to lie, it was a blast spending time with family, but at the same time, it was a complete nightmare. The 11:59 p.m. deadlines for assignments due on Saturday and Sunday during the holiday, studying for exams right after the break and finishing up group projects drove me insane. And I’m sure that I’m not the only one. 

The time constraints become a significant factor for those who travel home. The break might be just a few days, which poses a challenge for students to fully immerse themselves in the festivities and spend quality time with family and friends while coping with the significant amount of work. 

At the end of the day we are still college students, but please give us a break — literally! The increased cases of burnout in students is significant, especially when there’s work without pauses. Symptoms like decreased motivation and higher levels of anxiety and depression are clear signs of burnout leading students to decline in academic performance and increase a lack of creativity. 

The amount of scheduled workload creates a stressful situation for international students who have to deal with the pressure of catching up on eventually-missed classes and face the additional challenge of adapting to a new time zone and recovering from jet lag.

This Thanksgiving I luckily got the opportunity to go home for a few days, but last year I stayed on campus and it made me feel really homesick. Seeing everyone celebrating contributed to homesickness and isolation because it made me miss my family and our celebrations in general.

I believe holidays should be a time for students — and faculty — to unwind from work-related problems. While I don’t think colleges should add more days to Thanksgiving break, I think less homework should be required, or at least with no deadlines during the break.

This would contribute to a healthier, more loving and calm break for all of us and give us time to spend with our family and loved ones and be thankful for all milestones accomplished during the semester without stressing about what’s coming next. 

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About the Contributor
Elise Coelho, Staff Writer | she/her
Elise is a sophomore from São Paulo, Brazil. She is majoring in philosophy with a minor in journalism. She loves to read, write, listen to music and take pictures. Her favorite band is Maneskin, and most of the time you can find her at a theater watching a musical. After graduation she plans to become an author and share her stories with the world.

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