This is an opinion article. Any views expressed belong solely to the author and are not representative of The Cluster.
Starting on Thursday, Mercer University students will have the first official multiple-day break during the semester since the spring of 2020, when pandemic regulations began. For a full year of school, Mercer students had to forego their normal break schedule and complete their education consecutively.
Last year there were reading days instead of regular breaks. However these were oddly placed in the middle of the week, and since assignments were still due and classes were the next day, they did not provide much rest for students.
This year, our fall break is back, but with one significant downside: it is only two days long. Of course, if you count the weekend it is four days, but as far as academic days go, it is listed as the 7th and 8th of October.
While this is similar to the days given for fall break in 2019 which are listed as the 10th through the 12th of October, it possibly does not account for the burnout that the pandemic has brought on many students. In fact, while fall break used to last for a full week for many colleges, several universities this year are only offering one to two-day breaks, some without a fall break at all.
In addition to Mercer, some Georgia universities with two-day breaks include Georgia Tech and Georgia College, while the University of Georgia has a one-day break.
I am extremely excited for fall break and am looking forward to having Thursday and Friday off, but I think everyone would choose to extend it if they could and have some additional rest and relaxation.
“I would like for it to be a week,” Addison Young, a junior at Mercer, said. “I think that’s a nice amount of time, especially between the first and six to eight weeks and then midterms.”
The weight of midterms also adds a lot of stress to students’ schedules in the days leading to the break. A two-day time frame may not be enough for students to recover from the hectic week leading to fall break, especially if they have more assignments due during it.
Some students, however, believe that the fall break of a few days is acceptable, but that Thanksgiving Break should be longer in lieu of that.
“I kinda feel like fall break is good to just have a couple of days, but I feel like our Thanksgiving Break should definitely be longer,” Sydney Logan, a freshman at Mercer, said.
Either way, it is clear that students want more days of rest, whether they come in the form of a longer Fall or Thanksgiving Break. Students need mental health days and consecutive breaks in their education, in order to ensure they are healthy and functioning well academically. Extending fall break would provide students with this time and allow for true rest.
After last year’s nonstop academic pursuit, students definitely deserve adequate breaks and more days to look after their mental and physical health. Although it could be longer, as fall break approaches I hope that students enjoy their time off and take care of themselves.