Opinion | Students need a break

The world is a very chaotic place right now, cancelling spring break for students could be detrimental to their health.


Thomas A. Stewart

The Old Capital is seen on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

The University of Iowa’s decision to cancel spring break has brought up a lot of questions surrounding the disregard for the effects this could have on students’ health.

2020 has been a revolutionary year in the world, every day there seems to be a new mile marker made in history.

We are dealing with a pandemic, there have been non-stop protests and efforts made for justice in the Black Lives Matter movement, and it is a pivotal election year. Many college students are feeling not only the weight of the world weighing them down but also their classes. Taking time away from students to process and recuperate from work, school, and life, is incredibly harmful.

Many students are feeling burnt out mentally and physically yet they are being expected to perform with a complete disregard for the additional stressors they are facing at this time.

Lilly Sherman is a student studying Health and Human Physiology on a pre-dental track. When asked how she copes with balancing the weight of current events in the world and school she said, “I try to take more breaks doing things like going for walks, listening to music, talking to my friends, but I feel like I am living for the weekends trying to stay afloat.” She mentioned how, “breaks are pretty much essential for my mental health, it feels like I am able to pull myself out of the robotic trance I have to be in for school.”

Shannon Mcneal is an undergraduate student at the university majoring in Spanish and Chinese with a minor in Arabic. Alongside classwork, Shannon devotes a lot of her time to various organizations and efforts in her community and at school; she is the founder of the Quad Cities Black Lives Matter support group, parliamentarian for the Black Student Union, and an RA.

When asked how she has been coping with the weight of current events and school she said, “there hasn’t been enough time to process everything because school still needs to be a priority. For a lot of underprivileged minority students there really is not an option to take a break right now because our scholarships depend on us being here.” She also talked about how “Spring Break would be used to protect my space physically and mentally, now I feel like I am going into a four month battle field and I am just going to have to see how it goes.”

Students and staff benefit from time away from the constant pressures of classes. Burnout is already common in college students, and is likely worse with the current political and social climate of our world.

According to a study referenced in an article by College Info Geek, a quarter of students who participated in the study, examining the determinants of college student burnout, reported outside influences were a major cause of their burnout. Additionally over half of the participants attributed their burnout to feeling overworked in their classes.

Although the concern of students bringing back the coronavirus over breaks is valid, it is not the time to take away students’ ability to escape the neverending demands of rigorous schoolwork. There should still be extra spaces made for students to focus on their health, processing, and healing from the various events happening in the world.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.