This week, students received further details on Notre Dame's experimental Winter Session, which will last from November 22 to February 2. This is another first for the University and provides an even greater need for innovation, creativity, and dedication from students, faculty, staff, and administration. However, pushing back the Spring 2021 semester from mid-January to early-February was a good call and will, hopefully, be beneficial to everyone involved.
The first benefit is that we all get a break. Usually, Winter Break lasts a month and, while rejuvenating, it is rarely productive. This ten-week Winter Session can be both. Personally, I will be doing nothing but relaxing and recovering from this Fall Break-less semester until December. That is roughly a week and a half to just enjoy family, home-cooked meals, and anything else that I can imagine. This will be a great time where assignments are in the rearview mirror and there won't be a worry in the world!
The second benefit is that there are opportunities for social, professional, or academic growth during this time. Few students participate in internships or development programs during the typical Winter Break. This Winter Session not only grants students more time to reach out to their local communities, corporations, or network in search of such opportunities; but, the University will have several opportunities free to all! This includes career development sessions through the Career Center, internships with ND's network (paid and unpaid), research opportunities, and more! There is no excuse to not have a resume-building winter this year. In just ten weeks, you can learn a new skill, prepare for interviews, connect with ND alumni across the globe, and so much more.
The third benefit is that one course will be free to students who are enrolled full-time in spring 2021. As this will apply to the majority of students, it is an incredible chance to knock out a University, College, Major, or Minor requirement. If you have enough flexibility, you could even take an elective course that interests you. From January 4-27 you can fulfill requirements, continue to learn, and make sure that this Winter Session didn't make your study habits, math skills, or brain go rusty!
Finally, the spring semester starting in early February allows us to fully prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally for another break-less semester. While we all know this has taken a toll on us, students and faculty especially, it has also proven that we are all here, strong, and able to persevere through stressful times. The spring 2021 semester will hopefully be better as the United States will have more months to get a hold on COVID-19, perhaps a vaccination, and flu season will pass. If this all happens, I'm sure that life at Notre Dame will become more social, as well.
Only good vibes and hope going into 2021, spring semester included!