Students Say Mid-Sem Break Is “Too Short”

Students Say Mid-Sem Break Is “Too Short”

I get that a lot too

With Easter Break just around the corner, Otago students are once again asking themselves: “Why do we only get a one week break?” Critic Te Ārohi reached out to the Uni for answers. Again. We’ve done this a lot.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson began by setting the record straight. She told us that while we have 13-week semesters instead of a shorter 12-week like most of the other universities in Aotearoa, “The mid-semester break in semester one, associated always with Easter, is actually 10 days.” 

Based on chats around campus, student consensus seems to be that they “would rather start earlier and have extended breaks” than stick to the usual academic calendar. Our friends at the University of Auckland start on the same day as us but have their mid-sem break from April 12th until the 21st - a little later than Otago, but pretty much the same length. 

Professor Nicholson also pointed out that Otago Uni has 13-week semesters because “our undergraduate papers are primarily 18 points,” and, “compared with other New Zealand universities where papers are primarily 15 credits, we require a longer period to deliver the content.” 

We also asked why we don’t get Otago Anniversary Day off. Professor Nicholson told us that the anniversary is “formally observed on the Tuesday following Easter break” because of how the “Easter and mid-semester break is so close to Otago Anniversary Day.” She also explained how it “ensures we do not lose a full teaching day in semester one.” 

“There are no plans to change these arrangements,” said Professor Nicholson. “Bummer”, said a guy named Dave that we talked to.

This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2023.
Posted 2:39pm Sunday 2nd April 2023 by Emily Esplin.