Everyone knows the weekend is the best part of the week— free time galore as the reward for making it from Monday to Friday. But, it is always gone too soon. Between clearing the chore buildup from the week, trying to catch up on sleep and bracing mentally for the upcoming week, the time really flies. Would it not be great if there was an extra day added to the weekend? Maybe there should be.
The five-day work week itself is relatively new. Rachel Dresdale at Forbes writes this type of work week only became standard sometime around 1926. The standard week was even longer in 1908 with six days of the week spent doing whatever job you had at the time. It only shifted some when a New England Mill allowed people of Jewish faith to observe their Sabbath on Saturdays.
I highly doubt there is a single student enrolled here that could honestly say stress is not a major factor of their life. In fact, this stands for high school students too. Lindsay Dodgson with Insider references an eight week trial conducted in New Zealand which found a general decrease in stress from workers when a four-day week was implemented. If it works on a business level, why would it not work for universities too?
John Zarella of CNN reported on a Florida community college which tried four-day school weeks. Several students, including one who commutes a long way to attend classes, found the extra day useful for making appointments or generally decompressing with their family. They had time to make bank stops, go grocery shopping, work and study for tests in the week after. The benefits are not just unique to students, with the community college itself saving two hundred thousand dollars in energy costs and coming close to eliminating staff turnover in the enrollment offices. A community college in a different state is a far cry from Mississippi State University, but it is proof in showing the benefits to an academic community moving to four-day weeks instead of five.
This transition should be the next step MSU takes for its academic calendar. After the shakeup of the COVID-19 semesters taking away breaks and generally disrupting things for everyone involved, the issue with lack of downtime in an academic calendar became apparent. This change would be a step in the direction of preventing unpredictable causes from disrupting things again. A decent number of students and professors already do their best to avoid signing up for Friday classes, so why not do everyone a favor? Several professors also skip lecturing on Fridays in favor of giving their students, and themselves, extra time free. It would not be too large of a shift for those who do not have the option, since professors and students with longer Tuesday/Thursday classes get along just fine in terms of academic progress. A few extra minutes twice a week is a small price to pay for an entire extra day of decompression.