MacDonald: CSU professors shouldn’t assign work over breaks

Alexandra MacDonald

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Let’s start with the definition of the word “break.” According to Merriam-Webster, one of the several official meanings is “to stop or bring to an end suddenly.” As an example, this could mean breaking a habit or breaking a silent moment. So, if the word break means to interrupt or stop suddenly, why doesn’t that happen to Colorado State University students on our days off? 

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If you or anyone you know has given up time with family for an assignment that was due after — or, God forbid, during — a break, then you’re welcome to pour yourself a shot. Yes, the school does technically stop holding classes during a break, but for the most part, the work continues.

Final papers are due in a few weeks, and the anxious feeling to start reviewing study guides begins to creep up, but that’s normal — that’s about responsibility and time management. 

It’s just a few weeks in between, and it’s not like we’re going to forget how to read.” 

The problems start when a professor gets up in the morning just days before students are off and says, “Hey! I know what will be great for these kids: using the whole time they’re off to do an assignment I’m giving them now.” What’s the point? 

More than 40% of college students feel like their academics have been difficult to handle or have been traumatic, according to an assessment by the American College Health Association. The hoops a university requires students to jump through in order to receive a relatively meaningless degree only serve to worry them further. Students need short breaks like fall and spring breaks in order to collect themselves and push on to finish the rest of the semester. 

Students already have a lot on their plates during the weeks that they’re present in class to worry about academics. That’s obviously why we’re here. Adding on to the work they have is simply unnecessary. 

If professors need the satisfying feeling of knowing that their students will think of their class during a break, then there’s nothing wrong with sending a cheery note through Canvas about the following week. 

We should get the break that we deserve and frankly, so should the professors.”

Professors, on the other hand, do have to work over break. The work they assign needs to be graded, so there’s no better time to do that than a week where classes aren’t in session. So if professors have to do work, then so should their students, right? Not necessarily.

Professors get paid, after all, and the students may not even get a good grade for it. 

Summer learning loss is a worry that a lot of academic professionals have during the longer breaks, like winter and summer. But that’s primarily for students in high school, if not all of the K-12 curriculum. At the university level, the necessity of bringing your spring semester oceanography knowledge over to your fall semester marketing class isn’t a reality. It’s just a few weeks in between, and it’s not like we’re going to forget how to read. 

We’re not going to forget the module we left off on and certainly won’t forget that we have a two-hour final in front of us in the weeks ahead. In the future, don’t worry about assigning work during our breaks because it’s just a pain for everyone involved. We should get the break that we deserve and frankly, so should the professors. Give it a rest.

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Alexandra MacDonald can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Alexandramacc.