Time and planning are key when getting ready for the holidays. That also means added pressure for college students.
Thanksgiving is a time to be with family around delicious food and drinks, sharing stories and memories with one another and hoping the night does not end with a fight.
Del Mar College is a nontraditional college, full of students who may not have gone straight into college after they graduated high school. Many students are either raising a child by themselves or have already started a family, so students are trying to balance their own schedule along with their child’s or family’s schedule.
To make matters more difficult for our students, the Corpus Christi Independent School District gives its students a week off for Thanksgiving. It is not just CCISD; the majority of school districts in Texas give their students and faculty the full week off. This gives them time to travel and get things ready, or at least be together.
Originally, the state, like Del Mar, only gave three days off for Thanksgiving, but it chose to use two days from the weather emergency days that school districts can use. These days do not have to be made up at the end of the year.
So students in public schools get a week off from school but students at colleges and universities do not. If college students want to go home for Thanksgiving, they have to plan to get on a plane or drive the day before the holiday.
For Del Mar students who have kids, they have to figure out what they will do with them while they are in class for two days. They cannot drop them off at the day care center on campus because that is a year-round program with limited space available. Depending on the age of the child, day cares may or may not accept them, and they can also be expensive. The only choices for parents in school are to either find a baby sitter or let their child go to a friend’s house.
The younger a child is the more expensive child care becomes. Each day care is different for how much they charge for their service. On average, for a 3-year-old child, it may cost about $125 per week. A younger child may rack up the price to nearly $200 a week or more. A student may or may not be able to afford that for a week, especially during the holidays.
Student parents have to worry about their child and their school work, leaving little time to plan a Thanksgiving meal.
A nontraditional college such as Del Mar should give students a full week off for Thanksgiving. To make up the days, they should add them on either at the beginning or at the end of the semester. This gives student parents time to plan but also not have to worry or feel rushed with the limited time they have. Most importantly, they get to have time with their kids and family without having to think about school or remember the fact they had school the day before.
Also, students who do not have kids but want to see their family that live in another city can have more time to travel there without the worry of having to drive right after class or in traffic with other commuters who are rushing to their location.
During the holidays, drivers become more reckless. Instead of driving defensively, they start to drive aggressive because they are also trying to make it home. For many students, they may have to drive at night, which poses a risk if they feel fatigued.
Time is difficult to have on our side, especially for students and professors. Giving students the same amount of time off from school as public schools can make the holiday less stressful from school, but that doesn’t stop the stress from family.