The College of William and Mary prides itself on its presidential roots. Starting as early as my first pre-application information session for the College, I heard some form of the statement “three American presidents went here” uttered, and since then, I have heard it ad nauseum. This is for good reason, as it is a fact to be extremely proud of.
Following this, it would only make sense for our school to celebrate Presidents Day as a small break in February. We already have a fall break similarly placed in the first semester, and George Washington, the very man whose birthday is celebrated for Presidents Day, got his surveyor’s license from the College. It all makes perfect sense.
However, I cannot advocate for the creation of a Presidents Day break. I am not against this break because of any form of politics or a distaste for being away from classes and scholarly responsibilities. I appreciate time to breathe and relax just as much as everyone else. I just don’t think that the students of the College need a break in February to do so.
There is no calendar-based reason for the College to have a fall break. This year, the break happened to fall upon the weekend of “Bald and Free Day,” “National Chicken Cacciatore Day,” and “National Cut Up Your Credit Card Day,” all of which are holidays that hardly seem like things the College would give students a weekend off to celebrate.
Fall break’s importance is not in its intrinsic meaning, but in what it does for students, especially freshmen. It is nice for upperclassmen to go back home for a bit in October.
For first-year students coming off of a lifetime of living at home, being able to go back home after a little more than a month of school serves as a way to grab things previously thought unnecessary, get another taste of home cooking after the drastic adjustment to dining halls and, most importantly, regain a sense of comfort and confidence that can easily be lost in the massive transition to dormitory life.
Coming off of a month-long break back to college is nowhere near as monumental a shift as coming back after four months, or, for first year students, around 216 months.
While summer break serves as a chance to live a life outside of college for an extended period of time, winter break serves as more of a quick breather before the rest of the school year.
By the time Presidents Day weekend comes around, another breather just seems superfluous considering how recent our last one was. Re-acclimating into life at the College should pretty much be achieved already, with a whole, recent semester being under our collective belts.
I wholeheartedly believe we should celebrate our Founding Fathers, even more so at a school that our Founding Fathers once inhabited. Let us do it, however, not from home but from the very place they once dwelled.
Email Anthony Madalone at [email protected]