Thanksgiving break is meant to be used as a time to relax with friends and family without worry surrounding school responsibilities. However, this year has been anything but relaxing or worry-free, and next semester, there will be no chance for students to step away from the stress.
Since Illinois’s first stay-at-home order was implemented in March, the life of a college student has been anything but predictable. When returning to school this fall, SIUE students were told most courses would transfer to online after Thanksgiving break. Some students chose to stay on campus or not travel home for Thanksgiving to keep their families safe, but social support plays a large role in decreasing stress. Without this support throughout the past few months, people have been silently struggling now more than ever.
Thanksgiving break does not always give students a chance to rest because final assignments and exams are just around the corner. Professors tend to save bigger assignments for the end of the semester, so they are due shortly after break ends and require work during break.
Now, due to the seemingly endless pandemic, Spring Break at SIUE has been canceled to attempt to prevent students from traveling and returning to campus with COVID-19. Although we at The Alestle understand that stopping the spread of the virus is important, we also believe that giving students time to focus on their mental health is necessary.
Breaks are a chance to give students the strength to recover from stress and burnout. College students look forward to planning trips and spending time away from school. Students push themselves throughout the semester to reach a break, recover and get back to it to finish successfully. Without these breaks, students risk burning out to a point where they have a harder time recovering.
Online courses have demanded more responsibility and independence from students. Many students experience burnout at this point in the semester, and finding the self-discipline to complete coursework that is not at a set time every day may be difficult. Next semester, the same burnout will occur, except without a break in the middle.
Even though the university is not giving students a Spring Break, instructors should lighten their course load around the middle of the semester.
We want to remind everyone to take care of themselves and remember that your health is just as important as your success in school. Give yourself breaks when you can, even if you do not have a chance to physically leave your school environment. To prevent burnout, eat right, exercise, dedicate enough time to sleep and ask for help if you need it.