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Thanksgiving break: should we get rid of it?

You know that dreadful feeling you get when coming back to school after a break? It is one that is familiar to the student body of Glen A. Wilson High School (GAWHS), especially with finals looming over everyone’s heads upon their return to campus. While many are thankful for the chance to relax, the stress that follows after raises the question: Should Thanksgiving break instead be combined with Christmas break instead?

Christmas and Thanksgiving break—two and one weeks respectively—are separated by just three weeks of school, during which final exams occur. It is an unconventional schedule, as it disrupts their regular schedule of schoolwork, sports and extracurriculars. The consequences are evident: students are now struggling to get through their classes more than usual.

GAWHS Freshman Theresa Lee is one such student. She said, “Adjusting back to my regular schedule after a week off has been okay, but waking up early is very tiring.” Like Lee, many students do not come back refreshed for school and instead are experiencing increased fatigue, negatively affecting them in more ways than one. 

According to the Sleeping Foundation, an organization dedicated to researching sleep, “Without enough sleep, children and teens can have problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving.” This phenomenon is especially detrimental after Thanksgiving break, as students—having enjoyed a week of no schoolwork and the luxury of extra sleep—are immediately thrust into college application deadlines and final exams. 

Furthermore, students are forced to change their entire routine again and lose the benefits of the extra sleep they got over break. Without the proper rest and clear state of mind sleep provide, some students might find themselves not doing as well in their classes. Randy Suarez, a senior, was asked if he was struggling with his classes, to which he said, “So far, yes, a little bit … You had to get back on track.” With students already finding difficulty staying on top of their assignments, extracurriculars and other obligations, should their normal schedule be disrupted so completely by Thanksgiving break? While some may argue that students were able to accomplish work over the break, it cannot be said for certain. Some students may face difficult circumstances that do not allow them to work, such as financial issues, limited access to the Internet or personal problems.

Still, it cannot be denied that Thanksgiving break has benefits. Getting rest is important, which is why combining Christmas and Thanksgiving break should be considered. With a three-week long break, students would have more than enough time to rest for the new year and prepare themselves for the second semester. Not only that, students would not have to suddenly readjust to the rigor of writing college essays and late-night studying, which would help reduce the possibility of anxiety during one of the busiest times of the school year. 

However, there are many administrators and parents, especially who might think a three-week break is too long. Even so, it cannot be denied that such a break would do much good for the student body. Students are often under constant pressure, as being in high school today can take its toll. In fact, the Princeton Review reported that “On our own Student Life in America survey, over 50% of students reported feeling stressed, 25% reported that homework was their biggest source of stress.”

The life of a student is no easy job, meaning a three-week break would be very rewarding. 

Sophomore Amy Wang agrees, saying, “I think that having a three-week long break would be beneficial to the student body… it is good to unwind from the stress and pressure of school… [the] break grants students more time to spend with their family and friends.”

With their time free, teens could have the chance to enjoy and make the most of their youth since school devours most of their days, leaving them with no time to be with their families or go out with their friends. More importantly, though, this would give students a chance to unwind and improve their mental health so that when they come back from break, they would be refreshed and prepared for the next grading period. More than that, the potential for health problems in the future caused by stress would be reduced. 

Taking a week off for Thanksgiving might seem like a much-needed break, but it also has unintended consequences, and a three-week break could be more beneficial for students whose well-being should always be the priority. 

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