PATEL: Marquette should reconsider spring 2021 semester changes

Marquette+should+consider+working+with+the+Counseling+Center+to+promote+mental+health+awareness+on+Mental+Health+Days.+Marquette+Wire+stock+photo+

Marquette should consider working with the Counseling Center to promote mental health awareness on Mental Health Days. Marquette Wire stock photo

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Marquette University have had to make many changes to their college experience this year. They’ve had to adapt to new types of learning, rely heavily on virtual connections to stay in touch with friends and families, as well experience traditional in-person campus events like Homecoming online.

Students have also had to make other personal sacrifices and experience struggles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it be financial, familial or health related.

On top of those changes, Marquette’s decision to remove spring and Easter break, and replace it with four Mental Health Days on Feb. 9, March 10, April 20 and May 5, has added more stress.

Marquette’s effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 by getting rid of spring break will hopefully benefit the immediate health and well-being of the Marquette and Milwaukee communities, as students will be discouraged from leaving campus for a week and furthering the spread of COVID-19.  

While the university is focused on the physical health of students, mental health is also extremely important to prioritize, especially during a pandemic. 

Eliminating spring break means that students will have sixteen continuous weeks of school without a significant break.

Marquette students work hard.

They deserve, at the very least on Mental Health Days, to have an actual break, whether that means relaxing or honing in on mental health awareness.

The university should partner with the Counseling Center, or other campus groups, to host online events or activities that actually promote mental health awareness. These can range from meditation workshops, pet therapy, yoga classes, mental health fairs and counseling for students. Marquette can also invite counseling centers from around the Milwaukee area to promote their services as they do during O-Fest.

Some type of mental health service or event should be offered to students during Mental Health Days, so they feel like they have a way to de-stress. 

Just because Marquette got rid of spring break does not mean students should have to bear the burden.

Compared to most school years, this one is extremely challenging for students.

Making efforts to prioritize students’ mental health is important to their health and well-being, apart from their academic and professional success.

As unfortunate as it is that Marquette has taken away our spring break, the university should ensure that students feel supported through this semester, especially considering the additional mental, emotional, financial and personal struggles students may be facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking away spring break without an appropriate alternative may leave students behind and create unnecessary stress.

The university has a responsibility to ensure this does not happen.

This story was written by Krisha Patel. She can be reached at krisha.patel@marquette.edu.