The Return of the Desperately Missed Fall Break

Many Villanova students visited Nashville, Tennessee during Fall Break. 

Everyone needed fall break. With exams, projects and assignments piling up and hours of sleep waning, this break came at the perfect time. The fall break allowed students to explore various avenues of relaxation afforded by the generosity of the University.

The fall break on Villanova’s academic calendar started after students’ last classes on Thursday, Oct. 7 or Friday, Oct. 8. For half of the school, this is the first experience of fall break, as first year students were not at the University last year and sophomores were denied fall break due to the changed academic calendar because of the pandemic. The break was amazing for me because this was my first fall break in two years.

I thoroughly enjoy the breaks during the semester, especially the fall break, for various reasons. These reasons included having time to relax, seeing family and a significant other, playing golf, commentating for my alma mater’s football games and going out with friends. I am a huge sports fan, and this is the best time to have a week off to watch two weekends of the National Football League and college football, Major League Baseball playoffs and attend high school football games.

Other students enjoyed their breaks in grander or quieter ways. Some students traveled to the country music capital of the world, Nashville, to enjoy the nightlife and the scenes of the city that feels like a southern town. Others elected to travel to the sin city of Las Vegas to experience the bright lights of the Strip, the casinos and the beautiful views of the western desert.  Many students chose to go home and relax with family, while others went on friend trips or stayed on campus.

These trips to famous cities, traveling home to see family and friends, going on friend trips or relaxing on campus would not be possible without the thoughtfulness of the academic community at the school. The collective student population missed the breaks last year, and everyone, including faculty, staff and students, realized we needed a break during the grind of the semester. The break was not just a nice gesture from the University but a needed recharge for students, staff and faculty from a mental and physical standpoint.

The community is fortunate to enjoy the fall break since other Universities do not offer them or only offer partial breaks. For example, Pennsylvania State University and Temple University only offer short breaks attached to Thanksgiving. A partial break is offered at Seton Hall University, where students got off on the same day we did, but they had to go back the following Tuesday to start classes on Wednesday. Why not just give the students a whole week off at that point?

Villanova timed this break perfectly. Students are pushed to their limit with exams, group projects, quizzes and presentations that are jammed right before the break. Of course, we all hate the week or two preceding break because there are too many commitments and not enough time to complete them. However, we are all motivated by the light at the end of the tunnel and the relaxation that comes with it.

The only gripe I had with break is the amount of schoolwork I was assigned during the week off. I understand that our professors desire to continue our learning for the next week of classes, or maybe it is just the fact that I like to get ahead, but I had to set aside a couple of hours from Tuesday to Sunday to complete all of the reading and assignments laid out on the syllabus. 

Another aspect that break can provide is the delicious home cooked meals that our families provide us. I am not here to critique the dining halls, but we all know that the meals can be hit or miss. The opportunity home provides is to request meals that our parents cook, and we are able to converse with them about our experiences at college.

Whether you were looking forward to the sporting events like I was, going to concerts or relaxing with family, this fall break felt the best out of all of them I had so far.  It has been a busy semester for us all, and we all needed a break to make sure we can attack the second half of the semester with increased vigor.