By Briana Brady, Opinion Editor–
I can still hear in my head the conversations from last semester around mid-October: “I just want one day!” and “Even us teachers need a day or two to ourselves” and “I am running on fumes.” Now, this semester, around the time the UTC community would normally depart for spring break, I’m hearing those same pleas from both students and faculty alike, myself included. I can’t help but think of last spring break too, in the sense that when we all departed campus, we had no idea we would not return to in-person classes for a long time to come.
I know so many students not only attend their college classes, but are also employed either part-time or full time, involved in extra-curricular activities, have family obligations, and honestly, just want to have one night off a week for themselves. As wonderful as the college experience is, many students are juggling lots of tasks and obligations and the typical one week of break each semester serves as a kind of reprieve and re-steadying before diving right back in the deep end.
I have spoken with many of my friends who echo my sentiments of burnout, exhaustion, and dwindling motivation. Only exacerbated by the past year’s increased dependence on technology, the constant demands of school both in and out of class are draining. Moreover, working against the grain is the twinge of hope we are seeing as the weather warms and our country simultaneously begins to come out on the other side of this pandemic, only planting seeds of excitement to get outside. Simply put, we need a break.
To egg on the frustration, perhaps, UTC didn’t even allot its students a “Wellness Day,” which, while other universities’ students are making fun of, is certainly better than nothing. Even just one day in the middle of the week would be a nice little gift to look forward to. As I was saying to a friend recently, the thing that makes school so different from work is that (for the most part) when someone leaves their office at work, they are done for the day.
While it doesn’t always happen this way, theoretically, when someone is off the clock at work, they are not obligated to complete any task relating to work. School is different; the commitment level it expects constitutes that of a full time job. Not only do you have to go to class, but when you’re not in class, you’re getting emails, you’re doing load of homework, and even when you finish those immediate assignments, you know in the back of your mind there is always something else you can do.
All that to say, school is exhausting, draining, and at times, really tough. I am all for trying to discourage irresponsible spring break travel during the pandemic, but a break is a chance to simply rest and recover. If a day is the best we can do, hey, I’ll take it. But I know we all need something: a break.