Opinions, Column

The Break That Saved Us All

“I’m just so done, I want this semester to be over,” is a phrase that has been echoing across campus since March. It’s like it became the slogan of the first half of 2021 at Boston College—the constant cry for help that we are all “so done.” I think it’s safe to say that while we are all happy and grateful to be on campus amid the pandemic, this semester has been very draining. At first I thought I was the only one feeling exhausted, but then I started noticing that so many other people were feeling just as exhausted, wishing the semester was over. Everyone was “so done” with everything. 

Of course, every semester comes with its own difficulties, but for some reason this semester seemed vastly different. When I initially started to analyze why this semester feels more brutal than others, I could not quite put my finger on it, but I think I have pinpointed several factors that caused it. Maybe it was the fact that we had only one day for “Spring Break,” topped with the increasing exhaustion brought on by COVID-19 restrictions, and seasonal depression. That one-day break threw me off even more, and honestly did nothing to ease my exhaustion since I still had assignments and exams for the next day. “Spring Break” just felt like any other pre-finals study day. It definitely was not a wellness day. 

 Having a semester without a decent break is detrimental to students’ mental health, and at some point burns us out—I know that I was about to burn out. Motivation for doing my assignments to the best of my ability seemed to be slipping away and I was either getting barely any sleep or sleeping excessively. In other words, I was at my breaking point. I cannot even imagine how many BC students and faculty were feeling the same way I was. I love being here at BC, but I desperately needed a break, and I think all students would agree with me on that. Having an extended Winter Break only to be swamped with work 24/7 with no proper rest was taking an immense toll on our mental and emotional well-being. 

To an extent, I understand why we were not given a normal Spring Break. After all, we are in a pandemic. I am confident that the administration did it with the intention of preventing us from traveling and worsening the situation on campus, however, I do feel like there could have been an alternative that could have saved us from reaching a breaking point sooner. I think that the administration should have taken the mental health of its student body and staff into greater consideration when deciding what to do about Spring Break. 

For a while, the semester just seemed to keep dragging on and on, the workload never stopped or lessened. Everyone was “so done.” But then, Easter break came along: A small, dim light near the end of the tunnel of a never-ending workload. 

Truthfully, I did not expect that one long weekend to have any more effect than the one-day Spring Break. After all, it was just one more day off. I believed that our slogan would keep ringing until May, and that time would just keep dragging on endlessly. I am glad to say that I was proven wrong. For me, it was a weekend where I was able to recharge. My energy and motivation have since skyrocketed. After talking to some friends, both those who went home and those who stayed, I realized that Easter Break was exactly what we needed to make it through the rest of the semester. My friends’ moods were significantly uplifted, and everyone just seems much more well-rested and willing to work. 

After all, Easter does mark the coming of spring, light jackets, and sunny weather—something everyone has been looking forward to amid the unpleasant, isolated winter we faced. It may not have been a week-long break like Spring Break, but it has definitely made me stop saying, “I’m just so done, I want this semester to be over.” 

Featured Graphic by Meegan Minahan/ Heights Editor

April 15, 2021