Natalie St. Denis
SUNY students were struck with some bad news during the fall semester. Spring break 2021 was canceled. Colleges around the state made the decision to cancel spring break to decrease the potential spread of COVID-19, as students often travel and party. SUNY Plattsburgh students were among those who would miss out on what is usually a fun, relaxing break amongst the chaos of classes.
The week of March 14 would have been spring break. Instead, students were forced to push through yet another long week of classes.
Students feel exhausted from this semester. College is stressful as is, but in the midst of a global pandemic, this stress is quickly multiplied.
Sophomore childhood education and special education major Riley Mcquade feels that students deserve a break. Mcquade mentioned that she had a conversation with her friends and they all felt bombarded with more work this semester, opposed to the last.
“We’ve been working really hard,” Mcquade said. “We’ve been doing everything the teachers have asked. We’ve been doing everything the college has asked. For the most part, everyone is doing what they can to stay COVID safe and stuff. So I think that we deserve a little bit of a break.”
Not giving students this break they deserve has surfaced some negative feelings from students, including junior political science major Charlie Bagby.
“I’m honestly pretty irritated about it,” Bagby said. “Especially during the spring semester, it’s that one time in the entire semester that we have time off and to have that taken away is pretty sucky.”
Spring break doesn’t always just consist of partying. Some students use this time to go home and visit with their family.
“I was looking forward to going home and spending some time with my family,” Mcquade said. “I really miss them a lot this semester. I’m not going gonna get to go home and see them for Easter or anything, and spring break was gonna be the only time I could see them.”
Last year, Bagby spent spring break relaxing with family. But this year, relaxing has been far out of the picture.
“But now I’m at home, in my office pretty much for 12 hours of the day doing countless assignments for my classes,” Bagby said. “I’m exhausted.”
Students are feeling the burnout and there is still half of the semester left to go. Freshman hospitality major Abigail Landolf mentioned how students’ academic performances will be negatively affected by the lack of a spring break.
“I think it’s hard because we are performing straight through and we don’t have any breaks at all,” Landolf said. “It’s causing people to get more stressed out and burnt out, almost hindering their performance in classes.”
To make up for the cancellation of spring break, other schools like SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego, granted their students wellness days. These periodic days throughout the semester give students time off from classes. It may not be the same as a week-long break, but at least it’s something.
Students were upset that SUNY Plattsburgh didn’t grant any wellness days throughout this semester. Bagby’s parents both work at SUNY Oneonta, which granted students wellness days. So it felt unfair seeing them have multiple days off throughout the semester, as Bagby had to continue going to class and doing work. Getting just one day off could be beneficial.
“Even just one day, a couple of days, once a week just to allow people to have a break and relax,” Landolf said.
The burnout students are beginning to face is going to impact students and professors alike. If students are pushing their brains past their limit, there is no doubt that their work isn’t going to be a good reflection of their potential, which could frustrate professors. But if students get some time off to recharge, there will be a clear change in their quality of work.
“You can’t push students for such a long period of time and expect them to get the full extent of their education and turn in quality work if you’re pushing them seven days a week for 14 weeks without time off,” Bagby said.
Asking for a few days off here and there doesn’t seem like a lot, considering students originally would have gotten a full week off, especially when students really need it.
“Our brains need a break,” Mcquade said.