After a fall semester – sans any real break – that hit the Villanova student population’s mental health hard, Villanova has implemented two working breaks into the spring semester. These working breaks are designed as periods where no assignments or exams can be due, however classes may still be held. Other changes to the spring semester include no day off after Easter Sunday and no spring break.
These changes to the spring semester are understandable, but are the working breaks enough to relieve the struggles that students faced last semester due to not having enough breaks?
Villanova is well intending with these working breaks, as they were all of last semester. Exhibit A and B: free portable chairs and campus cozy’s. But the student population needs more than the comfort of an enormous sweatshirt to wear on the working breaks.
The working breaks are a step in the right direction. Truthfully, it feels wrong to push back against these choices. Shouldn’t we all just be grateful to be back in any capacity? Yes, we should feel lucky to have a semester on campus. That does not change that Villanova students deserve more in order to function. A few additional days off throughout the semester to give students time to breathe is necessary. Burnout is real and was experienced by so many students last semester.
Villanovans pleaded for a break and in return were “gifted” working breaks. However, these gifts seem to come short of what students need during what will be another unpredictable and difficult semester.
Last semester’s gifts included the return to campus and portable chairs. These gifts sparked hope, excitement, and high-quality memes. The excitement of returning to campus – despite an unusual schedule – shifted to a stressful, anxious, and overall difficult semester for many. Many students' portable chairs never made it out from the back of their closet.
As we approach the return to campus, feelings of hope and excitement are tangled with apprehension and anxiety. Villanova can alleviate these negative feelings by finally giving students what we asked for: a real break.