Union College’s trimester schedule is one of its quirks, and as students we all know the give and take the schedule entails.
Freshman year I felt a little odd, but also sort of pleased, as I was allowed a couple extra weeks of summer while all of my other friends shipped off to their orientations and college beginnings.
I stayed home and heard all about what being a college freshman was like, all the while still in my own bedroom with my family and puppy enjoying the extended vacation I was allowed but also getting increasingly nervous about my impending journey.
Once I got to school, the trimester schedule did not feel very strange, and it was quite manageable and pleasant to begin a college career only having to take three classes. Then our six-week winter break hit, and the trimester system’s oddities began to emerge.
Once Thanksgiving ended and the next holiday break was still in the distance for most colleges, I think many neighbors began to question why I was still home. In fact, my parents began to question it as well.
Not knowing how long it would feel, I did not know that getting a job for the break would be a smart move, and I was home for the entire thing, lonely and confused along with my parents.
Additionally, it felt as if no one around me was home at the same time, including my brother, and this made for an inconvenient break. I wished I could just return to Union.
Selfishly, the worst part of the trimester schedule for me is the summer. Because of how late we start, and how long we are home in the winter, we have to stay at school into June, while most other college students are out in early May.
It is quite disheartening to see friends all around finishing exams and heading to the beach while we are still only in the middle of our third trimester of classes.
Although the Spring is, as most Union students will say, the best season here, filled with a beautiful campus and nice weather and social activities, it is still hard to be here so late into June.
This year, as a sophomore, I learned yet another difficult aspect of the trimester schedule: the internship conundrum. Internships, already a nearly impossible thing to attain, expect students to be able to start working in May.
In fact, in my experience, and many of my friends’, they are not very thrilled with the quirky trimester schedule that Union College has, and they simply wish we could start earlier. Now, I would not say that this is necessarily keeping us from getting jobs we would otherwise get, but I definitely do not think it is giving us a leg up on the competition.
Additionally, students living far away from the jobs they are applying to will have a difficult time making it for an interview, and will be forced into Skype or phone interviews, which definitely can have a less effective result than face-to-face contact.
While I do love the uniqueness of Union, the three-course workload and I do now see the benefits of the long winter break, I do think that people coming into Union should be aware of the ups and downs that accompany the trimester schedule.