There are life lessons to be learned from vacations. An individual can try new foods, learn a new skill and maybe even learn a new language. And, on top of all of this, a person can recharge and ready themselves for life after the vacation is over.
However, planning a vacation can be a little tricky. For UT students, the release of the finals schedule causes an issue when it comes to planning vacations for the following summer or winter. Currently, the block of time finals could take place are released a year in advance. However, the exams a student may or may not have within the block are not revealed until the semester begins.
“I always plan my vacations for June because I never know when in May I will be officially done,” said Joseph Overman, an integrated masters in public accounting senior. “I feel like I spend the first week or two of summer not doing much because I didn’t feel comfortable planning anything for a time I could be stuck taking a final.”
Even after registering for classes the semester before, the finals information — or whether a class will have a final at all — is not released until much later in the semester. This makes summer planning difficult.
“The registrar’s office works with instructors after the 12th class day on their specific requests regarding final exams,” said Mark Simpson, assistant vice provost for enrollment management and University registrar. “This is after all adds/drops have been finalized. Although many classes hold their final exams in the same room they hold their classes, some are in different locations due to the number of students taking finals, or if an instructor chooses not to offer a final exam.”
The finals schedule is still subject to some change after the period of adding and dropping classes during a semester is over.
“My family started to plan a trip to Europe for this summer last Christmas,” economics sophomore Nick Hoffman said. “We had to plan to go in July after I started my internship because we didn’t know when we could go in May. I don’t know whether we would have changed things, but the option would have been nice.”
To be fair, the University does post potential final exam dates in advance. The University will reserve a block of a few weeks at the end of every semester where the finals could occur.
“Though the exact final exam dates and times may vary from class to class, the dates for final exams are posted in the academic calendar approximately a year in advance,” Simpson said. “This helps students and the campus community in their planning for vacations and time off after the last scheduled final exam day.”
While helpful for planning vacations and internships after the block of time, this does nothing to help the people wanting to plan for earlier trips or earlier start dates for work opportunities. Because the block of time is usually about two weeks, someone who only has a single class with a final may not know if their final is at the beginning or the end of the block.
The University can make changes to the finals system. By working with professors earlier, such as before the end of the add/drop deadline and during the time the block is released, students can know what to expect from their schedules when they register.
The school year is already difficult, and many look forward to vacation. The University can help people start experiencing life outside of the classroom a little bit sooner.
Layton is a marketing senior from Corpus Christi.