Many see summer vacations as a chance to get away from it all, to forget about books and exams and just relax, but the tradition of school all but shutting down over summer is an unnecessary and outdated system.
Summer break was originally intended to give the children of farmers some much needed time to help out with the harvest. However, the majority of students at UFV are no longer farmers, and modern technology makes it easier to farm with fewer helping hands. And yet, summer breaks are still the norm.
There is no denying that a vacation away from exams is necessary, if only for our own personal sanity. But if UFV offered a full course load in the summer, students would be able to choose when they wanted to take their vacation. Adding extra flexibility could help students balance their lives: we have hobbies, jobs, and vacations we actually want to go on, many of which don’t involve the heat of summer. Having a full variety of courses available during the summer would allow students needing to take classes during the summer the opportunity to do so.
There are many jobs that have more openings during certain seasons. Taking a winter off would allow a ski bum to take to the hills, or a business student to take a corporate internship that has extra positions open during off-seasons, when other universities are in full swing. With most students going back to school in the fall, there are many vacancies just waiting to be filled, and fewer applicants.
Traveling in the off-seasons almost always means cheaper flights and less tourists, so taking the fall or winter off could mean the difference between sitting at home, or actually being able to afford a trip to somewhere new. Having a more flexible vacation can also mean taking time off to visit family or friends over Christmas, which isn’t always possible during our unfortunately short winter break.
And what about hobbies, which are so often pushed aside and forgotten under all the textbooks? Like many others, my hobbies fall to the wayside in a season where I am stressing over exams. I, for one, would likely spend way too much time at the ski slopes if I had the opportunity to go to school over the summer, and being able to go skiing on a weekday would make this hobby far more affordable. Some of the most popular activities in the Fraser Valley can be better off-season: hunting, hiking, fishing, and even camping.
Many students are already taking a summer semester, or at least part of one. There are not enough classes available at times to take a full course load, and condensed courses can be awkward to schedule.
I’m not saying that every student would want to spend the summer in school. Plenty of people enjoy the traditional vacation structure, and relaxing in the blistering heat. But many, myself included, would benefit from the flexibility of having the option available to us.