Every year, my family gets together to celebrate Easter. We would all go to the Easter Vigil Mass the night before Easter. The church would be decorated with hundreds of flowers, and every pew was filled with family and friends. The Mass would start in darkness, soon to fill with the light of hundreds of little flames from the candles everyone held. The next day we would get together and celebrate as a family, sharing delicious food and stuffing our faces with chocolate eggs. This year, however, was very different from my normal familial Easter celebration. I was unable to go home because there was no Easter break. The only people able to leave were those who live close to campus. Living more than a thousand miles away, and with no direct flights to my home, I was unable to celebrate Easter with my family.
This weekend was labeled as Easter Observance in the academic calendar, but there was no difference between this weekend and any other regular weekend at St. Olaf. It was an ordinary weekend with the normal large quantities of homework and little time to actually spend observing Easter. As a Lutheran institution, I thought St. Olaf would have more of an Easter break so students would be able to return home and spend the holiday with their families. But this year, unlike years past, there was no break.
In the 2016-17 academic year, students were given Good Friday as well as the Monday after Easter off. This allowed more students to go home and be with their families. In the 2017-18 academic year, spring break and Easter break were combined, with students getting the Monday after Easter off in order to travel back to campus. This year was surprisingly different, with no break at all.
I believe that St. Olaf should give Good Friday and Easter Monday off so as to enable students to spend this important holiday with their families. It would also give students who don’t celebrate Easter a much-needed break from their studies. Although St. Olaf is a Christian institution, not all students are Christian. Beyond allowing us to have Easter break off from school, I believe St. Olaf should be more religiously inclusive with their breaks and give those who practice other religions the chance to observe holidays with their families.
Adriana Sanchez ’22 (email@example.com) is from Santa Fe, N.M. Her major is undecided.