The Academic Calendar Got Updated Again
So the academic calendar just got updated. Again. Here’s why:
I could write an entire article about the process of making an academic calendar at YU, but for this specific article let’s look solely at the month of May.
Initially, the academic calendar was as follows: study days were Friday, May 12 through Tuesday, May 16th, finals on Wednesday, May 17 through Wednesday, May 24, and commencement/graduation was on Thursday, May 25. This setup was beneficial for students setting aside both Monday and Tuesday as study days. However, one major factor was accidentally overlooked when making this calendar: Shavuot.
As you can imagine, having commencement on Erev Shavuot or Erev-Erev Shavuot on May 24 is a non-option, so it was decided that commencement would be on May 23. To accommodate this change to the date of commencement, some adjustments needed to be made to the calendar. The best plan of action was to remove a study day from the total count of study days and a finals day from the total count of finals days.
The calendar committee consulted with some students, the presidents of the student councils and some other student leaders and took their input to create this current version of the calendar. The calendar they created was as follows: study days from Friday, May 12 through Monday, May 15, finals from Tuesday, May 16th through Monday, May 22, and commencement on Tuesday, May 23. This is not very different from what the initial schedule was.
Another possibility that was considered was extending the academic year to include more study days and days for finals, and maybe even more days for a winter break. However, this solution had its flaws. Shavuot is immediately followed by Memorial Day weekend, which cannot have academic activity. The first possible day for commencement would then be Tuesday, May 30. Would people really want to travel all the way back from where they were for Shavuot to NYC for their commencement? Is that really a calendar that you would prefer? And what about all of the summer programs, internships, and activities that begin right at the end of May after Memorial Day? Would students then have issues with finals conflicting with their internships?
At the end of the day, making a calendar for YU is extremely difficult. There are no easy solutions. In fact, I would go so far as to say there are no good solutions, there is only the best solution given the circumstances.
I know it’s frustrating. There are only three study days, two of which are part of the weekend. I know it feels like our interests are not considered when these decisions are made. But please, before making snap judgments and assumptions, take a second look at the calendar and the circumstances surrounding it and think about what you would do.
Disclaimer: This is only the best option that I can see. If you figure out a way to give us more study days and breaks while still holding to academic standards that we need to follow and following all the Jewish holidays please let me know. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We can bring your suggestions to the calendar committee and change things for the better.
Photo Caption: Man Holding His Face
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