AC Burnouts

Students are burning out more than ever without a spring break.

Running Low

On October 30, 2020, Austin College announced via email that spring break will be canceled for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19. Last week would have been our spring break like any other year; but without the vacation, many students are burning out with the latter half of the semester still ahead of them. 

Coronavirus is something to be cautious about so Austin College’s reason for canceling spring break is valid. However, there are other ways to offer the same amount of breaks without allowing everyone to go home for a long period. One suggestion is to have an alternating day off for five weeks. This allows for the same five days reserved for students and faculty while keeping most students safe on campus. 

Unlike the fall semester, there are no 3-day weekends and as of this year, week-long breaks. Students now get Good Friday off to give us a spring “pause”. Trading the one break students get in exchange for one day doesn’t seem plausible. Getting one Friday off for over a quarter of a year of  school work, extracurriculars, and internships in a global pandemic does not add up. 

Many things are affected when students cannot get a break from school. Students who live out of state do not get a proper chance to visit family or a chance to drop off and grab things from home. Going home is an effective way to relax and release the stresses that their college town can bring. Even without relieving the stress from school, going without seeing family or hometown can cause poor mental health for those periods. 

Students slowly lose the motivation and energy to be productive and properly function, unlike students should. They are constantly thinking about the next assignment, next exam, next reading, next important event, and after a while, can start becoming physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Everyone is different but when this happens, students are most likely to cancel all plans, ignore all homework piling up, and just rest because they cannot fathom doing anything else. This is a rock bottom that is happening around campus. It is hard to come back from.  

Yes, people suggest 8 hours of sleep a night, talk to loved ones, take a break if needed but that seems to only apply when students are turning in their assignments on time. There is a contradiction and hypocritical sentiment to that as the expectations for students are so high. Some professors have noticed this burnout and have been more lenient on assignments and their due dates but this is only a fraction. 

Message to other students: remember your worth. Do what you need to do to get through the semester. Try to slow down, focus on what is in front of you and keep in mind that these high expectations you are feeling are unsustainable. Your best may not be the next person’s best. 

Message to faculty: just as you are swamped with grading, your students are trying to stay afloat with their assignments. Please put your students into consideration when assigning work to them. We understand when it takes three weeks to grade an assignment so please be understanding when students are honest with you and ask for extensions.