Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Friday, July 01, 2022 — Houston, TX

Sprinkle days are replacing spring break — so take an actual break

By Thresher Editorial Board     2/9/21 9:36pm

In a normal spring semester, we get spring break. This year, we get five “sprinkle” days instead — random weekdays dispersed throughout the semester on which no class occurs and no assignments can be due. The idea is to give Rice students their well-deserved days off without encouraging unnecessary travel. As Christopher Johns-Krull of the Academic Restart Committee wrote to course instructors, “it is intended that, to the extent possible, these be real breaks for students and instructors.”

That might be easier said than done. Our first sprinkle day is next Wednesday, Feb. 17. Because it falls right in the middle of the fourth week of classes, Rice students might feel like they should use the day off to catch up or get ahead on their assignments — a feeling that will inevitably be encouraged by professors who decide to have work due the next day. But having students spend their sprinkle days doing school work would defeat the purported purpose of the holiday — to actually take a break.

Students: you shouldn’t feel any guilt for doing absolutely nothing on your day off. Spring break is much needed in a normal semester, but keep in mind that a semester spent on Zoom during a pandemic brings with it a host of new mental and physical challenges, and that it’s okay to not be “used to it” yet, or ever. Last semester, which had no fall break, was an experiment of sorts in what would happen to students if they pushed themselves to their limits without taking proper time to catch their breaths. For many of us, the results of that experiment weren’t great. And so this semester, as we again face the elevated stresses of an accelerated academic schedule, sprinkle days are a deserved chance to slow down, recharge and take care of ourselves.



If you would normally spend your spring break thinking as little about school as possible, that’s what you should do on your sprinkle days — guilt-free. And if you’d normally spend your time off doing something like an alternative spring break, you might consider looking into ways to safely replicate typical learning and volunteer experiences. The bottom line is that almost none of us spend our spring breaks doing school work every day, and that’s not how we should spend our sprinkle days, either.

Professors likewise need to honor the intent of sprinkle days. The goal of sprinkle days as a break can only be fully realized if professors do not assign work to be due the following day, a recommendation echoed by Johns-Krull, who wrote: “The ARC encourages all instructors to consider the intent of these days as breaks as they design their schedule of assignments for their courses – and as such, we also encourage instructors to refrain from assigning any work due the day immediately following a ‘sprinkle day.’” If instructors do not take the ARC’s recommendation seriously, students will find themselves using their sprinkle days preparing for the next day instead of taking a much-needed break. 

Finally, to the entire Rice community: enjoy your day off, but remember to do so safely. While the situation has been improving at Rice and in Houston, it is up to all of us to do our part and help keep that trend going. Although we encourage you to take full advantage of your sprinkle days, it should go without saying that we must all continue to uphold Rice’s Culture of Care agreement. Breaking it would defeat the point of sprinkle days, too. 



More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 5/12/22 4:05pm
The Wellbeing Center should be transparent about its true confidentiality policies

Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:11pm
We’re in student media to learn

This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:02pm
Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.