Since the spring equinox, the landscaping department has ramped up efforts to beautify campus. Grass is neatly trimmed, branches cut into perfect silhouettes, tulips planted, the whole nine yards.
Maintenance for spring begins months before the temperatures begin to rise again. This upkeep is not easy … or cheap. According to the university-sanctioned 2022 financial summary, it cost $2.4 million to maintain the campus aesthetic last year. Pain (in the wallet) is beauty, I suppose.
The campus being pretty again contributes to the feel-good rejuvenation of spring. Unfortunately, spring coincides with the burnout brought by the close of the semester. A perfect storm, both equally discouraging students from enduring yet another lecture.
Literally a perfect storm, too. I’ve been able to count on at least one building-shaking thunderstorm per week for the last month. These storms have been a weirdly unifying experience: “Did you hear that thunder last night?” “Why is it 40 degrees in the middle of April … in the Deep South?” “Revelations.”
In all seriousness, witnessing classes thin out as the semester progresses is not a phenomenon exclusive to spring. Fall might be worse, especially with two major breaks that are practically consecutive.
This year students have mailed it in more frequently than in other recent school years. Approximately 43% of students have 10 or more absences this semester, according to the UM Office of Information Technology, equal to nearly 8,000 students. That figure becomes even more alarming when you consider the three weeks that remain in the semester. Expect to see that 43% creep up closer to 50% as professors wind down courses.
Spring skipping isn’t actually skipping; it’s students appreciating our nationally ranked campus during its most beautiful time of year, right? Or maybe it’s just practice for the summertime. They’ll be there for the final at least (hopefully).
Justice Rose is the opinion editor and a sophomore majoring in journalism from Madison, Miss.