12 March 2019
At UCCS, the fall and spring semesters are both about sixteen weeks long with both having about five days off (excluding the weekend) each semester. The spring gives us spring break (five days) and the fall gives us Labor day (two days) and Thanksgiving (three days).
While we may appreciate these breaks when they come up, we must question if they are helping as they should.
The mental health of students in college is detrimental when it comes to how much work they put in every day. With all of the homework, classes and studying that goes on, a student does not have a lot of time to relax and come back to reality.
According to Psychology Today, “studies suggest that between a quarter and a third of students meet criteria for an anxiety or depressive illness during their college experience.” This is caused by a feeling of being completely overwhelmed with all of your schooling and personal responsibilities.
So how does the school decide to help this? By giving us breaks throughout the semester, but is it really “throughout” the semester? Does one week of spring break after eight weeks of schooling before and seven weeks after really help? No.
Students normally take between twelve and eighteen credits a semester with a large amount of homework waiting for them at home and work to go to in their free time. There becomes no time for just yourself.
This can become detrimental to your mental health and causes students to shut down by the fifth week, yet they still have to wait another three weeks until they can rest their mind.
When spring break finally comes, you spend a week doing what? Just sitting around doing nothing, or homework and projects that your teachers have due the week after. But that isn’t helpful, because you are just going to go back and start everything all over again for the next seven weeks until you are done for a few months until next time.
This is what needs happen instead: we should have smaller breaks throughout the semester. Maybe throw in a few three-day weekends: one at the beginning and one at the end.
That way, when students start to burn out they have a chance to take a step back and breathe. I am aware that classes in college are a lot different than they are in high school, but they are also a lot harder and more time-consuming.
This could be done by taking away two of the weeks from winter break and splitting them up into multiple smaller breaks throughout the fall and spring semesters.
By allowing students to have more time off during the semester, their performance will be much higher because they will be fresh for weeks to come. They have a chance to take in the things they learned, go on a small adventure and truly rest for a little before getting back to work.
The mental stability of college students can be fragile and because of that, it is important to nurture it. A week off in the middle of the semester is not enough to keep the anxiety levels down.