With the semester coming to a close, the heat is really on for students when it comes to schoolwork. Every semester once mid-terms come around professors start assigning more and more work for students. With weekly assignments topped with projects, papers, and finals (oh my!), students easily become overwhelmed.
COVID has changed the way this semester has gone and frankly has added more stress to students. With a majority of classes having been moved online and a significantly higher amount of homework because of it, student stress has increased, and mental health has gone downhill. This semester students can expect a break for Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, classes go online for dead week and finals week, providing a break from school for students.
However, with the upcoming spring semester, the same cannot be said. Last month Pitt State announced that instead of having spring break in the middle of the upcoming semester, they will be moving it to the end of the semester. While ending the semester early is very considerate and makes sense considering the current pandemic, it brings up the question of students’ mental health.
Managing to go a full semester without a break, even if it is with good intentions, is stressful and scary for students. Students need a break to prevent them from spiraling. Constant stress from school and work without a break could lead to missing classes, lowered motivation, as well as physical symptoms. Students become drained from constant work which can impact how well they do in classes. The Student Government Association (SGA) currently has a poll out to allow students five mental health days next semester due to our lack of a break.
All students should vote on the poll to be sure student mental health is made a priority in the upcoming spring semester. Many times, mental health is pushed to the side when it comes to school and we need to make sure, especially with these changes for our safety, that our mental safety is important too.
With SGA’s five mental health days, students can take well deserved breaks to stay mentally healthy, focused, and be able to continue succeeding in school. Not all professors are open to allowing students mental health days and dock them points for caring about themselves. With the SGA’s helpful idea, students will be able to take these days to care for themselves without worrying about it affecting their grades.
Not all students are taught about how important mental health is growing up and attempt to do everything in college, which already causes stress and wears down students quicker. Mental health is important and many clubs on campus advocate for how important it is to take care of ourselves by providing ways to do self-care.
We shouldn’t fear repercussions for taking care of ourselves. Students should not have to choose between good grades and mental health. We must have breaks in the semester in order to succeed, whether it’s by having a break and then going online, like this semester, or if it’s with built in mental health days where students do not have to worry about school and can focus solely on self-care.