Editorial: A needed fall break

As students see their first break several months into the semester, stress and anxiety are mounting.

Daily Editorial Board

Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association found what college students already know: Generation Z, or people aged 15 to 21 years old, are the most stressed generation. The study looked at the increased levels of anxiety and stress in young people as a result of our nation’s current issues. These factors include, but are not limited to, gun violence, immigration, sexual assault and climate change.

If you add those factors to the academic stress that many students in Generation Z face, you create an atmosphere that puts an unhealthy amount of stress on young adults and teens. To help alleviate stress, we see one action the University of Minnesota could implement: incorporating a fall break.

Unlike spring semester where students get a week off in mid-March, fall semester begins the day after Labor Day and continues through most of November – without a break. On the University’s Morris and Duluth campuses, students receive two days off in October that serves as a fall break. Students on the Twin Cities campus should also be afforded this opportunity.

Having the break during Thanksgiving week would help students transition smoothly into the last weeks of the semester. Midterms often fall on the weeks before the holiday, so a few extra days void of class would provide time for students to get feedback from professors and faculty. Having a week to reflect on course progress, exams taken and papers written will ultimately set up students to succeed during a fast-approaching finals week.

Extending the Thanksgiving break would additionally give staff and faculty an opportunity to take time off for themselves. Professors could catch up on grading or open up more opportunities to hold office hours and meet with students. Offering students and professors the opportunity to catch their breath after sprinting through the first two-thirds of the semester is needed.

Students will also find more time to return home to spend time with their family. Over 38 percent of students on campus are from out of state or out of the country. Having extra days off during the week would allow students to have ample time to travel, regardless if they’re flocking home by plane, train or automobile.

Academics are a priority in students’ lives. But when mental health comes into question, we encourage the administration to put the health of the students’ first. Students are already dealing with high levels of stress, and with many students balancing jobs and course work, it becomes overwhelming and unhealthy for students to take on.

Having that time off during the fall semester will not only give students a chance to catch up on their school work, but ease some of the stress they face. The fall semester can often feel like a sprint that has turned into a marathon. However, there should be more time to rest, recuperate and refuel – before students make that final dash to the finish line.