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As Slippery Rock University lifts its mask mandate, the campus community is stuck in an in-between stage: COVID-19 still lingers but most places don’t require masks anymore. Needless to say, spring break looked and felt a little different this year.
Spring break is obviously nothing new, though. At its surface level, spring break is a chance to take a moment away from everyday stressors, just like any break during the semester.
Yet, spring break finally arrives about eight weeks into the semester. Two months into the semester, students begin to feel or have felt the full effects of burnout. So, spring break is the perfect opportunity to unwind from all that stress.
The seesawing argument of whether fall and spring breaks are needed (or beneficial) for students can be dated back years and years. We argue that students have worked for eight weeks to get into a routine that works for them, and then break comes and interrupts that.
Spring break comes with a battle of relaxation and productivity. From being a mental and physical reset to also being a time for students to, naturally, procrastinate their work, people certainly have different approaches to how they take a break.
Some people use break to spend time with family and reminsence on the times we were all together during the pandemic. Some may go on trips with friends for the week, or part of the week. Others may stay in their routine of working their same jobs and battling their same cycle of homework.
Although the way that everyone spends their break varies, we all have our own opinions of what break offers or doesn’t offer us.
It’s always hard to adjust to things when you come back from break, no matter how long it is. But this felt different. At least for many of us on The Rocket staff, it didn’t feel like much of a break. It was more like a setback, in some ways.
It seems that many of us came back this week to a plethora of deadlines waiting for us. Whether we worked on it over break or not, that doesn’t change the stress that it brought on.
As part of The Rocket staff, we came back from spring break, on top of our class deadlines, to have to complete a print edition as well. Our break offered many of us very little relief.
Many other schools are calling for their universities to require that no homework or projects are assigned over the break. This may be something that SRU should consider. Could this be the solution to the stress-induced spring break that the majority of students experienced?
If anything, that type of requirement could help delegate breaks to be used for their intended purpose: A week truly spent outside of the classroom and class work. While this may not solve the stress of coming back to deadlines, it could bring a much needed change to the typical SRU breaks.
Regardless of possible changes, not only was last week spring break, but it also was the two-year anniversary of March 13, 2020. On March 16, 2020, SRU President William Behre announced just 10 days after students left for spring break that in-person classes would be virtual starting March 30.
The biggest difference now is that we actually came back from spring break.
But maybe that’s why spring break felt so muddled this year. It highlighted the progress that we’ve made, but it also was a reminder of the lifestyle that we’ve left behind. It showed us how quickly we can jump back into routines, no matter the cost.
We’re left coming back to campus, ready to face the rest of the semester. However, we often forget that we must take our own breaks during the semester in order to protect our mental health and wellbeing. So, as we get back into the swing of things, don’t forget to prioritize your health.