Author: Lucy Feickert
Headed to a disciplinary meeting, or the hospital, is not the best way to start the semester, according to Associate Dean of Residential Education and Housing Services (REHS) Tim Chang. But arriving on campus late at night, tired, jet lagged and obliged to get up and go to class at eight the next morning while all your belongings are still packed isn’t the best start either. Because move-in day starts fewer than 24 hours before classes begin the next day, REHS does not facilitate a timely transition into the second semester.
In the past, according to Chang, when students were allowed back on campus a day earlier, some would engage in partying and other nefarious activities. The reasoning behind the current move-in schedule does not entertain the possibility that mature college students deserve the right to be treated as responsible adults. It does not consider that we might exercise some self-restraint or act responsibly.
REHS should give students the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to act like adults. Additionally, REHS could schedule programming to keep students engaged in healthy activities in the evening, such as residence hall meetings, lectures and presentations. Other student groups could use the time and plan their own events to open the second semester. The Marketplace could offer a welcome back meal to kick off the new semester and bring students together in a constructive manner.
Furthermore, REHS could decide to impose harsher consequences for disciplinary infractions to discourage students from engaging in illicit activities, should students be allowed back on campus a day earlier. REHS could also revoke the privilege of this earlier move in day for certain students in upcoming semesters if it were abused.
The current schedule allots only one possible travel day, leaving students no time to adjust to being back in the Pacific Standard Time zone. For a college with such a strong contingent of East Coast and Hawai’i natives, for example, it seems inconsiderate not to provide them with sufficient time to overcome their jet lag or travel fatigue. Students do not have adequate time to get back into their rooms and settled before classes begin on Tuesday morning. It’s unreasonable to think that students can function at their best under these circumstances.
Although most students are more situated in their rooms than at the beginning of the first semester, such cannot be said for Newcomb residents. Students living in Newcomb are required to pack up their belongings before leaving for winter break, and are therefore left with a much more time consuming move-in in the spring. Additionally, students returning from studying abroad in the fall who need to fully move into their rooms are not given the time that REHS allows at the beginning of the academic year.
All students need time to unpack and settle into their rooms for the new semester. If our primary responsibility as college students is to learn, we deserve the opportunity to be at our best each and every day, even if it is the first of the semester.
On a separate note regarding move-in day coinciding with MLK Day: generally, the holiday is a day of service, and it allows the time to honor this influential figure. However, when students are forced to spend the holiday traveling back to campus and moving in, they are not offered the chance to use the day as it is intended. As an institution, Occidental prides itself on the importance of service, even hosting the MLK Day of Service and encouraging student involvement. In the future, should the beginning of the second semester create a similar situation, REHS could schedule move-in day for Sunday and then hold the MLK Day of Service on Monday, the actual holiday, which would allow students not only more time on campus but also engagement in meaningful work as they shift back into life on campus.
Lucy Feickert is an undeclared first-year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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