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College starts semester day early

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Saint Mary’s students’ winter break came to an abrupt end Monday when they found themselves sitting in a classroom on a day previously reserved for enrollment, purchasing books and schedule changes.

The College Academic Affairs Council voted in April 2005 to resume class on the first Monday of the spring 2006 semester and every semester thereafter. The council opted to begin a day earlier in order to achieve a an equal meeting time between classes that convene on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and those that met on Tuesday and Thursday.

Some students who utilized the class-free Monday for readjusting to college life after a four-week winter break did not welcome the earlier starting date.

“I liked having the extra day to get organized, buy books and catch up with friends before we start in with classes,” junior Catherine Reinert said. “I arrived on Sunday night and had class all day [on Monday] so I haven’t had a chance to buy my books yet.”

The College made adjustments in attempts to accommodate the early start to the semester. Representatives from each academic department were available on Sunday afternoon to address students’ scheduling problems, and the bookstore remained open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

College residence halls, however, did not reopen until 9 a.m. on Sunday, which proved to put a time constraint on many students who desired extra time to move back into their dorm rooms.

“I felt a little rushed, especially since they didn’t open the dorms until Sunday morning,” junior Mary Meier said. “I was also surprised that the bookstore closed at 6 p.m. I figured they would stay open later to accommodate students.”

As a junior resident advisor, Jessica Stoller returned to her dorm room on Saturday and said that the situation became frustrating when some students snuck back into their dorm rooms on Saturday evening.

“Some [students] had already bought plane tickets to come back without to school on Saturday rather than Sunday, and we had to allow housing and make special exceptions,” she said. “The change was just frustrating for residents, RAs and residence life staff to have to deal with on a fairly short notice.”

Sophomores Erin Hogan and Natalie Grasso faced the challenge of having a very limited time to move into their dorm rooms after studying in Rome last semester.

“We just really hit the ground running,” Grasso said. “We had to move in quickly, which gave us no time to stop and think about the readjusting process.”

Hogan agreed and said that it was difficult to find time to reunite with friends after being away from the campus since last May.

“I have just been going nonstop since I got here, and have not even had time to think about being back,” she said.

Communications studies professor Colleen Fitzpatrick said she felt students did not seem quite as prepared on Monday as they did on the first day of class last semester.

“Very few students had the textbooks yet … I also heard of a few students who missed Monday’s class because they assumed the semester started [Tuesday],” she said. “But overall, the students seemed to be enthusiastic about starting, even if there were a few grumbles about starting on Monday.”