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Students Respond to Changes in Spring Semester Schedule

On Sept. 22, John Brown University announced its 2021 spring academic calendar to all students. To the student body’s surprise, the calendar had several changes, with classes starting on Feb. 1 and there being no Spring Break. This meant that winter break will last more than two months.

The school gave several reasons behind the changes: to avoid the riskier months of the flu season, to continue to hold activities outside that are not as feasible during December and January and to limit the amount of travel exposure, among others.

For many students, this is great news. For several others, however, the extended break affects plans they already had in mind for those months and has them feeling very unhappy about the upcoming weeks. According to a survey sent to almost 150 JBU students, with over 65 responses, 25% of those students feel somewhat or very unhappy about the winter break. The survey also indicates that more than 50% of students who were unhappy about the break are U.S. residents.

Eric Robinson, freshman psychology major, explained why he is not pleased about the changes. “It’s going to be hard because I’m gonna fall out of the routine I established here,” Robinson said. Robinson added that he is afraid of “getting bored at home,” considering that two months is a long time but not enough to get a job.

Other students feel neither happy nor unhappy about it; it will be just one more adjustment they will have due to the pandemic. “I feel like it’s going be a long time. It feels almost excessive,” Chloe Bryant, sophomore intercultural studies major, said. “But I do understand that it makes sense due to the virus.”

However, for many international students like Abigail Viana, junior business major from El Salvador, the change of plans feels like a gift sent from God. “Since I wasn’t able to go to my country this past summer, and the last time I saw my family was last Christmas, I feel extremely happy that I’m gonna have more time to spend with my family and friends,” Viana said.

The winter break will start on Nov. 25, just on time for Thanksgiving, and will go on until Feb. 1.