2021 Spring Breaking Point

Will an exhausted student body survive ten straight weeks of academics?

Spring break for this 2021 semester was moved almost a month earlier than normal. This change was made to accommodate for possible, optional, face-to-face instruction given current public safety protocols.

The last academic year, students have been put through the ringer when it comes to continuing or pursuing their education. Students already deal with the stressors that come with a college lifestyle and living at the precipice of your future can be a daunting task. Add the unprecedented changes of the last year, and what you get is a beaten down student population without even the on campus, in person college experience to stave off the effects of stress.

“With everything that’s happening and how it changes so consistently it’s really difficult to plan anything,” Rachel Stone, a senior and English major at HSU said. 

When balancing work and school, knowing what the next four months is going to look like is crucial to college life. The fact that the majority of students were not properly notified of this change was neglectful to those directly affected. The student body seems to have become the least considered and the most impacted by this decision.

A meeting was had in early December of 2020 for the alteration to the spring schedule. While student representatives were a part of the meeting and the decision making process, the majority of the student body was uninformed of the change. The decision was made at the end of the fall semester, but the spring academic calendar was not updated until sometime in late January.

This lack of notification and communication on behalf of the student populous illuminates further structural issues. From a student’s vantage point, I see people in high places making decisions on behalf of others without their consultation. While this spring break will be my last, I would have liked to have had more time and notice to plan appropriately. 

“I feel like it was something more to cover their bottoms for having students come back and live in the dorms, rather than thinking about what would be best for the students,” said Cossette McCave, a senior at HSU majoring in environmental science and management. These changes were made on behalf of the students for possible face-to-face instruction with a complete uncertainty about whether face-to-face instruction would even be plausible.

Without proper notification of the Spring schedule change, students will now take the brunt of this decision, resulting in ten straight weeks of academic rigor without even one day off for the remainder of the spring semester.

“I don’t think they’ve realized what they put students through or don’t have quite a grasp of it either,” McCave said. “The reality is that they are ruining a lot of our focus for school.” 

The majority of my fellow classmates became aware of the change in late January, myself being one of them. The lack of notice didn’t allow for any time to plan something for the last break of a long and arduous academic year. While the decision was made with students in mind, the effort put into notifying students of the change was clearly negligent.

Given the context of the last academic year, shouldn’t students have been properly notified of the schedule alteration if the change was within their best interest? Can an already beaten down student body take another hard hit?

Illustration graphic by Emily McCollum and Raven Marshall

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