Toreros’ late start to Christmas

Some students attend a festive, on-campus event to enjoy the holidays, despite still being in school for most of December.

Taryn Beaufort | Opinion Editor | The USD Vista

The holidays are quickly approaching and University of San Diego students seem ready to enjoy them, but there is one little catch — students will still be in the midst of finals. This year school will conclude for winter break on Dec. 22, only three days before Christmas. Toreros had mixed reactions regarding the finals schedule.

Junior Tia Phillipart remained neutral on the topic and did not question the university’s break schedule.

“I believe it is just part of the semester system and what is needed for the curriculum,” Phillipart said. “Since we start the semester in September, it only makes sense that we get out a little bit later in December so there is enough time for us to be in school.”

Phillipart acknowledged the benefits of getting out for break so late in December because it means a longer break in the winter for the students.

“I enjoy having almost a whole month off in January; it’s worth being in school so late in December,” Phillipart said. “I go snowboarding in January and it’s nice since everyone is back in school [and] it’s not very busy. I also like having that time to go visit friends at other schools.”

USD’s winter break lasts from Dec. 22 to Jan. 28 — a total of five weeks. Phillipart believes that the long break allows students to take advantage of various opportunities.

“It’s nice because USD offers intersession classes during our break too,” Phillipart said. “Students can take that extra class they need, or USD offers study abroad programs during Intersession too.”

During the winter break there is a three-week period called Intersession during which USD offers classes on campus or students can choose from several study abroad programs.

“The study abroad programs during Intersession are a great option for those students who don’t want to be abroad for a whole semester,” Phillipart said. “I have lots of friends who have done it in the past and they would always come back saying that it was the perfect amount of time — they highly recommend it.”

On the other hand, junior Jazmin Gonzales was dissatisfied with how late USD gets out for winter break.

“I don’t like getting out so late for winter break,” Gonzales said. “I don’t have enough time to visit my friends who are home for the holidays or go Christmas shopping. I have to pack all of these things into a very short period of time, which makes the holidays super chaotic. I just don’t get to enjoy them as much.”

Many students who take an intersession course, like Gonzales, don’t have much downtime in between finals ending and intersession courses starting. Gonzales said the current break schedule does not benefit students who decide to take an intersession course.

“It’s nice to be given a whole month for Christmas break, but for those who are taking intersession classes it doesn’t really matter,” Gonzales said. “Even though getting out late in December is made up for with the whole month of January off, I still don’t get to enjoy it because I will be spending my month of January in classes once again.”

These frustrations have led Gonzales to want a change in the break schedule.

“I think the administration should consider changing our break schedule,” Gonzales said. “Maybe change it to us starting school earlier [in late August] so then we can get out earlier for the holidays. I’d rather just go to school earlier so I can be on the same school schedule as my friends from home.”

Gonzales also believes that getting out later compared to some other schools is not only frustrating, but can also lead to distractions while preparing for finals.

“It’s hard for me to focus when Christmas is just around the corner and all my friends are already home enjoying their break,” Gonzales said. “My friends will constantly call me to hang out, but meanwhile I’m in school writing term papers and studying. I can’t help but check my Snapchat and Instagram to see what I am missing out on.”

Senior Ava O’Brien finds it hard to balance enjoying everything the holidays have to offer with school still being in the back of her mind.

“I extremely dislike our schedule,” O’Brien said. “I feel like I don’t have enough time to celebrate the holidays with my family or even get into the holiday spirit due to stress of finishing the semester strong.”

Like Gonzales and some of the other students, O’Brien thinks that the break schedule should be revised.

“I do think the administration should reconsider because it is an inconvenience to many students at USD,” O’Brien said. “The winter break is too long and isn’t necessary. When I come back to school after break it takes me longer to adjust to a school schedule again due to the long winter break.”

Whether the USD break schedule will be revised in the upcoming years is hard to say. Some Toreros would welcome this change with open arms since it would allow them more time to spend at home for the holidays. On the other hand, some students like the schedule the way it is because it allows them a whole month off of school.