Students must prioritize mental health after University removal of spring break

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Students are battling exhaustion as the spring semester approaches an end. In previous years, students would look forward to spring break to give them a breather from the demands of the semester and gain the strength to finish strong. 

But, USC decided to take away spring break this year to eliminate the risk of students traveling during the break and increasing transmission risk of the virus. 

Instead, the University implemented wellness days that would be one day of no classes or school-related activities, giving students the chance to have a mental day. 

Students are battling Zoom fatigue, and now without any real break — how can professors expect students to be producing their best work?

They can’t. 

Students have been trying their best to adjust to the major differences in college life. While they are struggling to find normalcy in the last few weeks of the semester and before finals approach, some students feel the need to tell their professors that they are burnt out. However, they may be unable to do so out of fear that professors won’t understand or have empathy. 

The only way students can reach out to professors and see whether they care about the well-being of their students is by scheduling office hours. This can allow students to explain to their professors that they are feeling drained and ask for some encouragement. 

In a survey by the University of Michigan, 83% of students said that their mental health negatively impacted their academic performance, with half of the students saying they struggle with depression or anxiety.

The added pressure of the school year ending and finals season is affecting students’ mindset. While professors may assume that students are being lazy because their cameras are turned off and aren’t engaging in class, students may very well be battling with serious mental health decline. 

Professors have their own deadline and syllabus of certain lesson objectives that have to be reached in a short amount of time, but they can lend a hand by accommodating their students the best way that they can. One way is to give students study days in class or offer to allow them to turn in assignments early so they can have one less class to worry about during finals. Communicating to their students that they are there to help them and not add extra stress would lessen student anxiety by letting them know that their professors are looking out for them. 

Fortunately, as the semester winds to a close, vaccines are being administered at a rate which promises a potential return to campus next fall and eliminates the need to cancel breaks in the future. 

For now, students must hold on knowing that summer is almost here and that the much-needed break is coming. 

On the last couple of wellness days, students may choose to take advantage of the mental health resources and wellness activities including yoga and meditation that are advertised by the University.

Students must remember that they are more than their grades and are human beings that deserve to breathe and relax just like everyone else. They should listen to their body and minds to know when they need to take their break, even if it is not put on the school calendar.