Editorial | Pitt needs to put the ‘break’ back in spring break


TPN File Photo

A student struggles with studying.

As spring break approaches and burnout increases, it’s finally time to sit back and relax. Unlike last year’s student self-care days, we have a full week off with no classes, academic clubs or on-campus employment. However, some professors have still assigned work over the break.

This year — more than any year — we need spring break. By assigning us work over break, professors are neglecting the much-needed time to unplug and spend time with family. While this is an upgrade from last year’s self-care day, this needs to be a true break which means no looming assignments. The University should require that no work is assigned during break so students can enjoy their time off.

While college is already a stressful time that can lead to burnout, COVID-19 has exacerbated it. With the start of the semester being remote to then transitioning back to in-person classes, it has been a very tumultuous semester. Additionally, burnout rates among students have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic adding to the muddled chaos.

Because of this, we need to have a restful break. One of the most effective ways to combat burnout is to take a pause and do things that bring you joy. After the insanity that was the first half of the semester, and to reduce oncoming burnout after midterms, we really need the break. Making people spend the valuable time they have away from school doing assignments means the break isn’t a break.

It’s important for us as students to be able to spend time laying on the couch with no responsibilities. If impending homework is looming over our heads, we are unable to truly unplug. To live happy and full lives, it’s necessary to expand our horizons and focus on things that make us happy, not just grades and school.

For some people, spring break is the only time in the next few months when they can see their family. It’s important to spend time connecting with the people we love — definitely more important than busy work a professor assigns over break. School is a priority, but time with loved ones matters more, especially when we have had a stressful first half of the semester.

Having the time to recharge is so important, as burnout can lead to insomnia, changes in eating and sleeping, stomachaches and issues with hormonal balancing and neurological functioning. It even increases symptoms of depression and anxiety that can be long term. Rest is not only wanted — it’s needed for us to be healthy both mentally and physically. After almost two full years of a pandemic, we need to have the time to not think about school and just take a break.