Looking Ahead to Break

16 November 2023

Congratulations on getting to Tenth Week! I hope that as you make your way through the forest of tasks in front of you, you can see the serene prospect of a well-deserved break opening up on the not-too-distant horizon. While this is a time of year when we traditionally bemoan the pace and intensity of a Carleton trimester, I will say that the Thanksgiving holiday is when I truly appreciate our calendar.

Colleges and universities on a semester schedule, I can say from experience, find Thanksgiving to be something of a headache. Coming as it does very close to the end of a long term, it is a tantalizing hint of a holiday that breaks your stride without providing any real respite. Faculty can never decide whether it is worse to load students up with work the previous week and send them home exhausted, or ruin their holiday by giving them papers to write during the few days they have at home. And that’s without getting into the perpetual question of whether it is realistic to try to hold classes in the early part of Thanksgiving week when many students leave early.

Here, by contrast, we at least end our admittedly busy term with a definite sense of closure. I hope it allows everyone to begin relaxing into a slower phase, even faculty who are grading and staff returning to work. Good luck with the days ahead, and best wishes for a peaceful start to winter break.

late afternoon in the Arb

A quiet late afternoon in the Arb last week.

Featured in Carleton Today, November 16, 2023.