Though no one can truly explain what the Fall Breather actually is, it’s generally talked about as though it were a recently enacted break in which professors in some departments are asked to refrain from assigning homework over a weekend. This theoretically homework-free weekend provided many members of the GVSU community a chance to reflect on how much of an empty prize the Fall Breather is.
“I’m so grateful for the Fall Breather for giving me time to think about how stressful this semester has been,” said Emily Phipps, a junior, as she clutched a cup of coffee in one hand and her class syllabuses in the other, “and how much of a living nightmare it’s going to become as finals draw closer. I was studying and accidentally went three hours without drinking caffeine, and I’m pretty sure what I had was a heart attack. The weekend gave me time to lay down and contemplate if this is even worth it.”
“The Fall Breather gave me some valuable Netflix time,” said junior Arin Reece-Meyer. “I binge-watched all the episodes of Narcos. Normally, I only have time to grab dinner, work on homework for two hours, then binge-watch six episodes of a show before going to bed.”
Though the Breather is meant to be a time with no projects or assignments, many dedicated students still used the weekend to work on projects that were already due the following week, “It’s not a big deal, really,” said Leslie Ponsoldt, a freshman, who made headlines for completing her COM 101 group presentation single-handedly over the Breather.
“No one in my group had done their PowerPoint slides, and they all sounded pretty drunk when I called them Friday night, so I took the risk of working over the weekend and finished our presentation. I even chose funny little YouTube videos for each slide! It’s a good thing we get this weekend, like every weekend, to work on homework,” she said.
GVSU professors also expressed their excitement at the Fall Breather. “I set up all my assignments before the semester begins, so I really couldn’t see myself springing something on my students for them to work on over the weekend,” said Professor of Anthropology Jonathan Swifter.
“But it’s times like the Fall Breather when I can be especially hateful of students’ complaints. Oh, you’ve got a paper to write that’s due next week? Well, I’ve had to grade that paper AND 36 other papers over the weekend. And let me tell you what, absolutely none of you have anything interesting to say about ancient Peruvian civilization,” said Swifter.
The unanimously lukewarm response to this year’s Fall Breather has been viewed as a rousing success by Grand Valley and its board of directors, who are putting forth effort to establish the Fall Breather as an official entry on the semester schedule.