Why the Trimester System Must Leave Union

Craig Efrati, Staff Writer

If you are a student at Union, there is one universal truth we can all agree on: the trimester system is unorthodox when compared with other colleges. Personally, I feel it is problematic. For starters, Union’s trimester system limits courses to only ten weeks long, which can make it rather daunting and challenging to retain the information necessary to succeed. In addition, the trimester system’s short calendar can make it hard for students to keep up with their assignments and complete their work. As a first-year student, I felt rather intimidated by the system when I first arrived on campus and experienced my own struggles with acclimating to the academic schedule.

 Instead of having about fifteen weeks to complete classes, the trimester system leaves room for only ten. Although students typically are only enrolled in three courses, the speed at which they move may leave students finding themselves feeling like they are rushing through material. We may be taking fewer classes than those in a semester system, and focusing on each one more, but I feel that it leaves us unable to learn the material in-depth. In my opinion, they feel much more daunting than the four or five taken typically at a semester school, because of the speed required to do the work and learn the material.

It does not help either that the trimester system makes it so our academic calendar starts in September and ends in June, instead of the usual semester schedule of beginning in August and finishing in May. This could possibly create stress and anxiety for our faculty and students, as precious internships and jobs are not always available under the restraints of our rare collegiate schedule. Planning vacations and time with loved ones can also be incredibly challenging, due to our timeline that does not match that of the conventional semester system.

Another problem with our trimester schedule is that our winter break, which is slightly over a month, is too long. It does not align with other schools. Personally, it has left me to feel bored and isolated. The same goes for starting school so late in September.  With summer jobs mostly finished, and not much to do or many people to see, life can feel very repetitive and boring being at home.

The reasons to abolish the trimester system at Union far outweigh any to keep it. The benefits of switching to a more universal system (semester system) would benefit students by allowing them more time to engage in class, understand the material, and make richer connections. The trimester term goes by in a flash, and once it’s over, I feel that I haven’t gotten what I necessarily wanted out of my education.