For most Bradley students, the three extra days they get off during the week of Thanksgiving are happily welcomed. But as an out-of-state student, it’s simply not enough, and I know for a fact that extending Thanksgiving Break is an idea we can all get behind.
Before I continue any further: no, the weekend doesn’t count as part of my break. Why? Because, it’s the weekend – a two-day period where I, like the majority of students, am either A) enjoying life instead of doing an assignment that’s due the following Monday, or B) frantically trying to finish the assignment I blew off that’s due the following Monday. I also know that a lot of in-state students occasionally go home during the weekends anyways.
Now, I’m from Vermont, which is quite far away. The majority of my friends from back home also attend college out of state, but we all make it back home for Thanksgiving Break, even if you’re like me who lives halfway across the country.
The main problem I face is travel time, which usually consumes an entire day just for the one-way trip. In other words, I lose two days on any vacation I have which requires me to go home and return: two days where I don’t have to worry about school. Most students here don’t have that problem because 83 percent of Bradley’s student body lives in Illinois, according to College Board.
I usually start by taking the Peoria Charter to O’Hare International Airport, which takes around three hours or more, depending on the traffic and stops taken. Then, I fly out from O’Hare to (bear with me here) Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Québec, which takes about three hours flight time. That doesn’t include wait times in between, either.
Note that I take flights through Canada because it’s way cheaper. When I arrive in Québec, I meet up with my parents who drive me back home, which takes another two hours. By the end of the day, I’ve probably spent around 12 hours traveling and a lot of my money.
Luckily, I enjoy traveling, so it’s not as big of a problem for me as it is for other students who live out of state, out of country or dislike the thought of flying. Nevertheless, it is tiring.
A lot of Bradley students who live outside Illinois don’t even have the luxury of going home due to the burdensome expenses or because it’s just too short of a vacation anyways. Personally, I like to go home for two reasons: to briefly spend time with family and friends who I haven’t seen in three months and to enjoy some free time before preparing for my finals.
At this point, I’d be more than willing to give up Fall Break for a slightly longer Thanksgiving Break. I know a lot of students agree with me on this point. I only get to go home during Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Breaks, and now as I approach the end of my sophomore year, less and less time will be spent returning home due to internships and opportunities.
I’m complaining, yes. But I feel even worse for those who don’t get to go back home as much. Remember, the limited time you have now to spend with family and friends is significant.