Brandeis’ academic calendar has a unique designation for “Brandeis Days” a few times each semester. On these days, Brandeis follows a different weekday class schedule. This past week, we had the Oct. 13 Brandeis Monday and followed a Monday schedule on Thursday.
Brandeis Days are—at best—inconvenient. You have to alter your sleep schedule, rearrange dinner plans and show up a few minutes late to a club meeting. At worst, you have an 8 a.m. again, you’re double-booked during a club e-board meeting and you don’t have time to eat in the frenzy of the changed schedule.
And, worst of all, some students even forget about the day and go to the wrong classes, wake up at 8 a.m. when their first class isn’t until 11 a.m., and totally lose their footing on the linear flow of time. Even better, is when professors forget what days are Brandeis Days. Having to remind your professor that you have a class when you really shouldn’t have a class that day makes you that kid.
Brandeis Days are used by the university’s administration to make up for lost time: when we have several days off that fall on Mondays we get a Brandeis Monday to compensate and ensure that students get enough class time. However, this schedule change means that other classes feel off-kilter for a couple weeks.
This week, if you have a class on Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll only meet twice over the next two weeks. You meet this Tuesday, Oct. 11, but Thursday, Oct. 13 follows a Monday schedule so you can’t attend the class then. Are you following along? Next Tuesday, Oct. 18 is a Brandeis Monday which means that the class won’t meet again until Thursday, Oct. 20. In this case, Brandeis Days—which are intended to make up for lost Mondays—just shift the burden to Tuesday and Thursday classes. Think about how this affects classes that only meet on either Tuesday or Thursday. Some of our classes are divided into sections so you don’t attend two lectures a week and instead only one depending on the day you are assigned. Or how the lab days get messed up as a result of this.
Even if overall class time is evened out across all weekdays now, Brandeis Days cause unnecessary change and needless stress for students and faculty alike who must reconfigure their schedules to accommodate the administration’s attempt at improving the academic calendar.
Brandeis community members’ schedules are already full enough as is, so the Brandeis Day disruptor can be a lot for students to handle. These schedule changes are stressful, hard to understand and should be easily done away with. Causing further schedule disruption in the name of equalizing Brandeisians’ schedules is ultimately unnecessary.
And yet Brandeis Days are part of the culture of the campus; they’re something we all collectively hate—students, faculty and staff alike. That may be the one positive of Brandeis Days—it is something we can collectively sigh over. There’s nothing like explaining the logic of Brandeis Days to a first-year for the first time and watching their face contort in confusion. It’s almost like a right of passage.
The reasons behind Brandeis Days are important. It provides students observing holidays to not have to worry about the additional stress of school as they celebrate—a luxury not provided at every school. It also makes up for lost class time for professors whose classes are on Mondays. Most universities have fall breaks—where the institution closes for an entire week to provide a break to their community memebrs—but the full week off does not provide the same relief as having one day off a week. The spacing out of breaks eases some of the burden of work on a daily basis, which is helpful. It is when we start calling Thursdays “Mondays” that the real problem arises.