The transition to a new semester at Georgetown is often not an easy one, whether you’re returning from winter break, time off or a semester abroad. The first week back on the Hilltop is a reliably stressful experience: registration, books, baggage, bills to pay – it’s chaos.

The university doesn’t make it any easier by reopening residential facilities less than 24 hours before classes begin. Students don’t get a single full day to settle in before the time comes to buckle down for another rigorous semester.

Under the current policy, the university opens the residence halls at noon on the day before classes begin. This does not provide enough time for students to get back into their routines. Between moving in personal belongings, worrying about adding or dropping classes and braving the interminable lines at the bookstore, students are burdened with more than they should be expected to handle in such a brief period of time.

Some of the students who suffer from the time crunch come from farther than up the coast or the Midwest. Those coming from the West Coast or even other countries are particularly inconvenienced due to long travel times.

When bad weather strikes, as it did this year, the problem is exacerbated – students are left to move in overnight or before their first class in the morning.

Things are even more problematic for students returning from a study abroad program or a semester away from college life. Those who were not on campus during first semester do not have any additional time to move in. Even though students might manage to enter residence halls if they show up early, they cannot receive keys until noon, when the offices open. Welcome back.

There may be reasons for not opening up the halls earlier. The university likely aims to cut costs, give students who work in residences halls longer breaks and keep a potentially restless student body under control.

But the cost of opening up just a day earlier is well worth the price if it means that students can more easily readjust to life at Georgetown. The university needs to equip its students with time – a vital asset in getting the semester off on the right foot.

Next year, the university should open the residence halls at least two days before classes start to provide Georgetown students more time to get back into the swing of things. Under the current policy, students are organizing their semester on top of new classes, new homework and new jobs all at the same time, and on a schedule that gets everyone off to a late start.

This might sound like a group of pampered college students bemoaning a meaningless predicament. But claims that this is an unreasonable expectation for the university are specious. Many other universities, including Boston College, Yale University, Notre Dame University and Wake Forest University for instance, give students at least two days to prepare for the onslaught of the second semester.

oreover, Georgetown allows returning students three days before the beginning of the fall semester; to say that the difficulties of preparing for the fall semester are three times more burdensome than preparing for the spring semester is a stretch as well.

A day or two can make a big difference and it would come at little cost to the university. Georgetown should get in line with its peers and, when the time comes to draw up the calendar for next January, keep the interests of its students in mind.

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