Tufts’ tuition alone costs just over $58,000. On top of that, students have to pay for necessities like textbooks and laundry. And finally, for those students hailing from farther than the greater New England region, they have to pay for train tickets or, like me, flights home. The last time I checked, it costs around $580 to fly home to my hometown of Seattle. Going to Tufts is expensive enough that I cannot realistically go home for every break. It just breaks the bank eventually. Assuming I get Sunday-Saturday at home, not counting the days I travel, that’s over $80 for every day. If Tufts gave us two weeks off, like many nearby schools do, students like me who have to pay for expensive flights home could financially justify going home for spring break.
At home, I worked at a restaurant over the summer. When I called up my boss before winter break, he gave me a few shifts over those four weeks. I also talked to a co-worker who said she got work during her two-week spring break, but one week is not enough time for me to get work over break. So not only would a two-week spring break make the flight financially justifiable, I could even work over break and make some money to help pay for the flight.
The trade-off for having a one weeklong break is that our last day of finals is May 9. But take the example of my friend who goes to nearby Vassar College: she got two weeks off for break and is still finished by May 20. She was able to go home for break and is getting back home weeks ahead of anyone at schools that use the quarter system, such as my local state school where a number of my friends attend. And May 20 is still far earlier than all of the high schools in the area. Despite the end of the semester being pushed back a week, schools that have a two-week spring break still get out very early in the year.
Tufts could even use a two-week spring break to encourage students to go home during break by closing the dorms. Of course, this could be a minor inconvenience to some. If ResLife takes up the same policy as over winter break where students who cannot leave campus get housing in South Hall, students would be motivated to take a break from The Hill and either go home or visit some other city. This would also spare ResLife the trouble of having to find RAs to staff the dorms over break.
There are definitely good reasons to only have one week off for spring break; there are a lot of benefits for both Tufts and the students here to only leave campus for a week. But giving us a two-week spring break would give students who are far from home the chance to visit their families and see their hometowns, instead of having to go without for five months. Two free weeks would let me see my parents, siblings, pets, friends, extended family, and so many more people who I’ve gone so long without seeing.