The following article calling for a weeklong spring break appeared in the March 31, 1967, issue of the Campus Chat, North Texas’ student newspaper (the weeklong break came four years later).
Spring is one of the greatest hindrances to learning. Love is often cited as the cause of study difficulties during this time of year, and unfairly, too. A young man’s fancy will turn regardless of the season. The cause of study problems is more likely to be exhaustion, which is less romantic but more realistic.
North Texas students have but one break in the spring – and that is only four and a half days. Many schools give their students a spring vacation of seven to 10 days. For example, Texas Tech students enjoyed a full week from Wednesday to Wednesday. The University of Texas at Austin did not have a long Easter weekend but will dismiss classes from April 1 through 10.
This is not a complaint that the student is overworked, because he is not. College is more than a place to prepare for a career – it is also where one learns to stand up to the pressures inherent in any profession.
However, going to college is a full-time job. Many students carry that load and another job. Outside reading, daily review and study, book reports, the departmental “extracurriculars” so vital to the “record,” class projects – all demand a share of the student’s most valued commodity: his spare time.
Most upperclassmen have more than one major paper due; so do many underclassmen. Ideally, students would spend this spare time doing research for their papers over a period of one or two months. However, it is seldom that things work out that way. The same question always reoccurs: What spare time?
University experience exposes to students a vast knowledge. They should have the time to think about it and become accustomed to new facts, ideas and concepts. A longer break in the spring semester would slow down the breakneck pace at which the students must move to keep up.
A longer break would allow students to let their hair down, relax and just have fun, without worrying about that test tomorrow or curfew or anything.
Stories of rioting at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and in other parts of the country may be a source of objection to week-long spring vacations. However, the troublemakers are in the minority. The thousands of students who remain law-abiding citizens will never receive publicity because good behavior has little news value. People find it dull reading.
Students do not do their best work when tired. It is physically impossible to be mentally alert after a long period of unbroken exertion. A common phenomenon among college students has been described as “the big sleep.” The symptoms include a mixed-up schedule in which one gets up in order to go back to bed. It leads to being tired a lot. And that can lead to anything from failing slips to mono.
This is not a crusade but simply a request common to students: Give us the time to learn, and to remember what we have learned. Lighten the pressures of an unbroken semester with at least a week-long vacation.
— Joyce Black