Photo by Laurentiu Iordache on Unsplash
JCU students took a much-needed break for Easter after working through the semester without the annual spring break. While many enjoyed their time off, some students question whether this break will be sufficient.
“[Easter break] feels very much needed,” Erin Ahern ’21 told The Carroll News in an interview done before the Easter Break. “It feels like we’ve all been kind of going and going and going without any break until now. It feels like it’s been way too long without a serious break.”
“I understand that the professors want to help us become educated, but also we have lives outside of this,” said Raven Glover ’23. “And especially as a remote student, it’s been extremely hectic to have all these other assignments on top of taking care of my family at home. So, I’ve just been really stressed out to the max.”
Many universities opted to omit spring break to prevent student travel due to the pandemic this year. However, this decision has consequences for students’ mental health. According to Vox, constant online learning has proven detrimental to students, even impacting their academic work. “The more intensity and pressure a student is feeling, the more their performance will decrease,” said UC Berkeley Psychologist Elizabeth Aranda.
“[Professionals and academic administrators] tell you to take breaks when you need it, and this [break] is like a nice calm-down for everyone to collect the dots and everything,” Glover said. “But since we do not have that [more often], it’s just going sensory overload and overboard so that no one has time to collect their thoughts. And now, maybe assignments might be off, but students still can’t function — I’m struggling to function. And it’s just going downhill further from there.”
While universities, including John Carroll, have provided “mental health days,” those days usually translate to students’ extra homework day. Students were also assigned work over break, which causes further problems.
“I know we had a mental health day, but with it being kind of in the middle of the week … I can’t speak for others, but for me, it just turned into another homework day,” said Ahern. “So, I’m glad that we’re finally getting a break, but it feels like it’s been a very long time.”
College students are not only seeking a break from academic work. Campus organizations are also a significant responsibility for many students. However, with no university breaks, some student leaders feel overworked and burned out.
“I think everyone’s feeling pretty overwhelmed with going and going this semester without really having a break up until now,” said Ahern, who served as president of student government last year. “And I’m sure [student] leaders feel that way too because they’re not having a break from their jobs.”
For some students, the loss of social contact has also added to the stress.
“I just describe it all as feeling very overwhelming and stuck,” said Ahern. “Because it feels like you’re in a rut of doing all this work and really having no outlet because there’s not much we can do.”
“I would like [administration and faculty] to be a little bit more conscious with understanding that students have lives outside of their classes,” Glover said.