Take a breath: Why students are suffering without fall breather

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By Laura Grimm

grimmla@mnstate.edu

Students are exhausted.

Two years ago, the administration got rid of the fall breather in order to honor Veteran’s Day. The breather came the Monday after midterm, and there were no classes Tuesday for faculty development.

Without the break, students do not have a day off from Labor Day to Veteran’s Day—a span of over two months.

Senior Mikaila Norman had the fall breather her freshman year, the last year before it was discontinued. When it was dropped her sophomore year, she felt the difference.

“I remember I was very stressed out about it that year because I went for a very long time without going home,” Norman said. “I went a very long time without getting really any chance to relax and have a weekday off.”

As students try to get over midterms, they feel the stress.

“After midterms, I think we deserve a break,” senior Rachael Wing said. “With all the homecoming events and all the tests and exams, two days off or something are deserved. You’re getting ready for finals, and the next couple months, you’re stressed out and overwhelmed.”

Students who work tend to do so over weekends, meaning they face a particular disadvantage in time. Norman works every other weekend but has club activities the other weekends.

“Because of all the other extracurriculars I’ve had on weekends, I do my extracurricular school things, and then I work every other day around it,” Norman said. “My regular work week is school. I have made days off for myself by skipping classes, but that’s not sustainable or something anyone should do. I would just really like a day off.”

Students preparing for graduation this fall are particularly stressed.

“With graduation coming up in 7-8 weeks, I need a break. I need to get everything together,” Wing said. “Working a job and doing school too, I need some time to get everything back on track after midterms.”

Besides students, professors also benefit from having a day or two off after midterms to grade everything.

“Professors who have more structured midterms would like to have time to do grades, and that’s something I think every professor deals with—finding the time to do the grading, especially on something as big as a midterm or a paper or a test,” English professor Nathan Rundquist said.

The two days of break that were previously the fall breather were moved to one day off in November to honor Veteran’s Day.

This year, Veteran’s Day falls on Saturday, Nov. 11, so there are no classes the Friday before.

“A lot of people don’t have class on Fridays, so if you give someone a Friday off, it’s like you’re not even getting a break out of this,” Wing said.

Norman believes it’s good to honor veterans, but she thinks most students do not use the day to actually honor them.

“I feel like no matter what holiday it was, you give us the day off, we’re just going to sit on our butts and watch Netflix and play Overwatch. We’re not going to honor that specific holiday,” Norman said.

April Schwandt, a student seeking her second degree, feels two is the ideal number of days off.

“(The semester) gets exhausting,” Schwandt said. “I would like more than a day off. I feel like having a Friday off, lots of kids don’t have class anyway, so it doesn’t really affect them that much. So maybe have a Thursday, or a Monday and a Tuesday off.”

Across campus, students are echoing the sentiment:

“I just really want a break,” Wing said.

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