We are approaching the point in the semester where we would normally be enjoying spring break. The weather is becoming warmer, and students are in desperate need of a break.
Sixteen straight weeks without a break is absolutely exhausting.
While other universities have also cancelled their spring breaks, they implemented various mental health days throughout the semester to compensate for the lack of a weeklong break.
Other universities also cancelled classes on the Friday before Easter and the Monday after, giving students a four-day weekend.
Although not everyone celebrates Easter, the university could have offered a four-day weekend at any point through the semester.
The greatest irony rests in the university telling students to “take a mental health break” without actually offering a break.
Some professors are more empathetic and understanding and have created their own dead week by not assigning any homework and cancelling class for the week.
Other professors are not as compassionate and have actually increased their workload.
Additionally, some professors are still requiring attendance and making it a significant part of students’ grades, despite the university discouraging doing so.
When students are forced to choose between a break and earning a decent grade, their mental health is compromised.
Before COVID-19, students had fun events, such as Spring Week, to look forward to when the semester became draining.
Intramurals, such as floor hockey and basketball, were always a great stress reliever too.
Given the COVID-19 restrictions, the aforementioned enjoyable events are no longer as enjoyable.
The tandem race during Spring Week has been cancelled and contact intramural sports—floor hockey, basketball, flag football, etc.—have been temporarily suspended.
As of March 31, 2021, anyone 16 and older can receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Indiana. The statewide mask mandate is also ending April 6.
Despite the state’s lesser restrictions, the university is still maintaining theirs. Residential Life has not lifted the no-guest policy in the residential halls.
During these exhausting times, students need each other.
Simply having a friend to confide in can make all the difference. Sometimes hanging out with friends can actually resemble a break.
Not to mention, senioritis is stronger than ever.
The seniors’ upperclassmen years were diminished: no Spring Break for two years and none of the classic events to look forward to with the exception of commencement.
When the university modified the academic calendar last semester, it is obvious they were not thinking about the students.
No breaks, increased workloads, and a lack of empathy on behalf of the university is asking for burnt out students.
As the semester continues, students will be less motivated to attend classes and to complete assignments; their grades will suffer.
Some may believe students can power through, but unless you are a student, it is impossible to understand the exhaustion.
Everyone—faculty, staff and students—is drained. It is a shame the university did not consider this when they modified the calendar.
Hopefully in the future, they will take students’ mental health into consideration.