Lawrence is known for its highly unusual academic calendar. Most other schools don’t quite understand us, with our late start and our late finish and trimesters. We’re weird, we know, we’ve come to accept it. But this year has been different.This year we started classes a week later than usual. While this change does have its perks — an extra week of summer vacation, returning from Thanksgiving break to ninth week instead of 10th and a whole week off after New Year’s instead of just a couple days — it also has one major downside: We aren’t done with school in the spring until June 13 (June 15 for the class of 2008).
This severely limits students’ opportunities to get summer internships and even jobs, since many programs start the first week of June. In years past, students could, and have, petitioned to take their finals early in order to start their internships on time. This year, however, even if students do petition to finish early, they’re still likely to be a week behind in their summer program.
We don’t know why the administration chose to make this calendar change, but did they even take this into consideration?
On another scheduling note, does everyone remember the e-mail we received this summer announcing that second term classes would begin on a Wednesday, rather than the usual Monday? Many of us were probably relieved to see this change, and a little frustrated to see that it was an error.
Lawrentians fly or drive back to campus from all over the country and world and most of us know people who have missed a couple days of second term classes because of a snow storm delay, or people who have lost luggage for the same reason.
Instead of asking us to rush back to campus and start new classes all in one 24-hour block (and then rush to Conkey’s after classes have already begun), it seemed logical to allow us a couple of days to trickle in to campus from our respective homes and holiday destinations.
It can be incredibly frustrating to go to class on the first day feeling unsettled and unprepared. We are not allowed to move in sooner, unless we file forms and get approval, which can be similarly frustrating. Just as the administration may not take into account our internship and job possibilities, they underestimate the power of getting settled back at school after a significant break.
Lawrence’s calendar is pretty good to us for the most part, but there are still some kinks that could be worked out in the future.