Late Finals Irk Students

Christian Foley ’20, Staff Writer

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Students are frustrated with this semester’s finals’ schedule, which ends on Dec. 22, a week later than years prior.

In the past, the fall semester has begun in late August which resulted in finals ending almost a full week earlier.

“I just don’t see who it benefits,” said Jaiden Cruz ’22.. Cruz, who lives in Toronto, could not get a flight home after his last final on Dec. 22  because of holiday traffic and now is forced to leave on Dec. 23. Flight costs usually rise to Christmas, forcing international students and those who live far to spend more money booking flights, something Cruz believes the college may not have thought about when making the calendar. 

 Johannes Ali ’22 is from Germany and will not be able to see his family this break and has to stay in Carlisle. When asked about the finals schedule he said, “I don’t like it.” He hopes it will change in the future so he will have more time to spend with his family when he goes home for break.

Assistant Provost for Curriculum Deb Bolen stated via email that the academic calendar is made five to six years in advance and, “follows a cyclical pattern where the start dates shift by one day for several years, then ‘resets.’” For example, in fall 2003 the semester started on Sept. 1 with each following year starting a day earlier. 

Austin Seabolt ’20 is affected in more ways than travel costs. He works for his family business in Florida.  His late return to home will hurt the business. “They were counting on me there a week earlier, so it’s messing up our entire schedule.” 

Carol Johnston, professor of English, said, “it never made sense to start [the semester] before Labor Day…at the end of the day, it is not a big deal. We will teach 14 weeks no matter when we start or stop.” 

According to Bolen, the Registrar proposes calendar dates to the Academic Program and Standard Committee (APSC) for approval. Members of this committee include students and professors. “Student representatives on the APSC are welcome to give their feedback on the calendar and are included in the committee’s vote,” Bolen said. 

“To have start and stop dates that inconvenience us… for no reason is a little annoying,” Cruz said. “If students are the main focus…. Why can’t it be good for us?” Another suggestion was to have students schedule their own finals which would cut out the gap between exams and get students back home sooner. “I don’t know if professors would go for it,” said Seabolt who thinks the idea would be more beneficial to students. Johnston believes this could work on an individual basis with professors who give essays rather than exams. “Creating a good exam is like writing an essay, it takes time.”

Pete Dubravski ’20 believes the college needs to focus more on being flexible with international students and students with disabilities. Dubravski, who tore his ACL this football season, will not be able to get surgery until after Christmas because of how late he will return home from school. He filled out a disability form so that he could go home sooner and get surgery, but his request was not approved in time for the doctor to schedule surgery before Christmas, so Dubravski canceled it. “I wasn’t trying to get out of a final or anything like that,” said Dubravski who wanted to get the surgery done as soon as possible so he can be ready for the spring semester. “I might have to go back home this spring for checkups now that the surgery is after Christmas.” 

The academic calendar is currently scheduled with the Fall 2019 semester beginning on Sept. 2, followed by an Aug. 31 start for the Fall of 2020. As for if students would be able to schedule their own finals, Bolen said “That would be very logistically challenging to implement.”