Opinion | Two days of a ‘spring break’ is a joke

The two off days the UI administration has given students instead of spring break is more insulting than stripping it away all together.


Jenna Galligan

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Hannah Pinski, Opinions Columnist

In September, the University of Iowa decided to cancel spring break and delay the start of the spring semester one week later than originally planned. The reasoning for the UI making this decision was to limit the potential spread of the virus that would come with planned trips and travel.

On Nov. 2, the university announced that on March 2 and April 14 (which fall on a Tuesday and Wednesday) no classes will be held and serve as a “catch up” day for students.

These two days off don’t provide the same benefits as a week-long break that students need.

First, these two days off aren’t going to provide students with the same benefits. Unlike the high school setting, every college student has a different schedule where the number of classes vary day to day.

For example, a student that has four classes on March 2 is going to serve more as a break than the other student that already has Tuesday off and all their classes on March 1.

It’s unfair for some students to receive more time off than others when everyone deserves and needs a break.

In addition, there are both physical and mental health concerns for students.

The format of the spring semester is similar to the hybrid fall semester with a majority of classes online.

This semester, Iowa professors have found that the increased use of electronic consumption has caused health problems such as eye strain and sleep problems. In addition, earbud usage for recorded lectures or attending discussion while your roommate is in the dorm room could cause future hearing problems for students.

Students need a sufficient break in order to give their brain and body a substantial rest from electronic usage. If we are expected to plow through the second semester where we are spending six or seven hours on our laptops a day, we are increasing the chances of damaging our physical health.

However, it’s not only physical health that is a major concern.

For many students including myself, the toughest stretch of the school year is from Labor Day to Thanksgiving break. Weeks of back-to-back assignments, exams, and papers cause a significant amount of stress, and by the time break finally comes I feel burnt out.

The same concept applies to spring break next semester. When I found out that we’re expected to do a 16-week semester straight through, my friends and I were ready to cry.

While some may call that statement overdramatic, top administration doesn’t realize that this break is the only time where students can actually catch a breath.

We’re strained this semester from what feels like having to teach ourselves college level courses and lack of human interaction. And that’s with a fall break. Imagining what next semester is going to feel like to do this all over again with only two random days off pretty much is a nightmare to us.

Spring break isn’t just for students to take a trip to Florida. It’s also the light at the end of the tunnel for us when we feel like we’re going to burn out. With the increased workload, stress, and mental and physical health concerns, the UI needs to give us more of a break.

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.