While you were relaxing by the pool, enjoying the sweet relief of summer, Cornell slid into your inbox with a major press release. The new academic calendar had been finalized.
For those you who don’t follow and haven’t been keeping up with the drama, last spring Cornell embarked on its quinquennial review of the academic calendar. They considered a variety of options with the intent to address specific student, faculty and staff concerns. Using that feedback they created two potential versions, a “modified current calendar” that included only slight changes and an “early commencement” calendar which moved up graduation by two weeks by eliminating February break and shortening winter break. After a series of meetings and a period for public commentary, they settled on the “modified current” calendar, which means that no huge changes will be coming. However, some things will be different next year, so we’ve decided to break down the five most important changes for Students.
1A Longer O-week
In the past, freshman move-in occurred on a Friday and classes began the following Tuesday. This left just four days for dartying, sunbathing, and gorge-swimming before the semester started. With the new change, however, freshman will still move in on Friday but school will now start on a Thursday, which means an additional two days of O-Week fun.
2A Shorter Finals Week
While some schools call that last testing period of the semester “finals week,” Cornellians have always referred to the thirteen-day period between the end of classes and the last final as just “finals.” Going forward, this period this will be shortened to just 11 days, which is either good or bad news depending on your personal study style. Unfortunately, we still have finals on weekends, so I don’t even know how much of an improvement this can really be.
3A Slightly Shorter Winter Break
As of now, Cornell has an absurdly long winter break: almost six weeks–not that we’re complaining. However, next winter, students will have a little less time at home before returning to the Ithaca cold. Fall semester will end two days later and Spring semester will start a day earlier meaning three less days of winter break overall.
4Later February Break
Unlike most schools, Cornell also offers students a long-weekend during February. Originally created to decrease mental health issues by providing time off during the coldest, darkest part of the year, this break–typically coinciding with Presidents’ Weekend–will be pushed back one week. This will help it to better achieve its original purpose, considering that it used to fall less than a month after school started in January, aka well before the stress of prelim season had really kicked in. Unfortunately, Spring Break will still be the first week of April, so you can kiss goodbye any dreams you had of partying with your state school friends in Cancún.
5Longer Senior Week
A time honored tradition, Senior Week was shortened in the last schedule change to last for a mere four days. Luckily, next year the time between the last finals and the beginning of commencement will actually be a full seven days as the name would suggest. This is only fair considering it’s graduating seniors’ last chance to embrace the debauchery that becomes unacceptable in the real world.
The slightly later August start date combined with the shorter finals period means that summer will be at least one week longer in the future, depending on the particular year. This is crucial because in the past Cornell summer has been as short as 12 weeks, making those who want 12-week internships spend their ENTIRE SUMMER working. Now those people will have at least one week to relax.