Students react to Mental Health Days

Many+students+have+said+that+the+Mental+Health+Days+are+not+a+sufficient+substitute+for+spring+break%0A%0AWire+Stock+Photo

Many students have said that the Mental Health Days are not a sufficient substitute for spring break Wire Stock Photo

This semester Marquette introduced four Mental Health Days spaced throughout the semester as an alternative to spring break. However, many students have said that they would rather have spring break and have been unable to properly rest during the Mental Health Day.

“I want to reinforce how important these days are because we all need time to unplug. While the pandemic has increased the stress load for many of us, even under normal circumstances rest, recovery and reflection are key to leading healthy and balanced lives,” Xavier Cole, vice president for student affairs, said in a Marquette Today article. 

The first mental health day took place Feb. 9. The remaining mental health days are March 10, April 20 and May 5. During these mental health days, all undergraduate classes are canceled and students have the day to do whatever they please. In the past Marquette has had a five day spring break in the middle of March.

Professors don’t teach classes on theses days and graduate students also get these days off. However, they often aren’t always used as a rest day. 

Yes – graduate students get mental health days. Because a good handful of us are also graduate assistants (TAs or RAs), it’s especially helpful because we have so much going on and it’s just a nice extra break. It actually doesn’t even get used as a break day mostly, because we just use it as a work day,” Lexi Beaver, a graduate student, said in an email.

The calendar updates were made in October and announced through a Marquette Today news release by Provost Kimo Ah Yun.

“University leadership recognizes that it can be difficult to manage the anxieties and stress associated with this pandemic. The Mental Health Days will provide students the opportunity to rest and recharge while also reducing unnecessary travel,” Ah Yun said in a Oct. 14 news release.

However, there are differing opinions on the university’s calendar updates.

“I get that they don’t want us to travel, but if they at least attached them to the weekend, like on a Monday or Friday, I think it’d be so much better than the random stuff they’re doing,” Elizabeth Gorney, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

In addition, many members of the Marquette community don’t believe the four mental health days are a sufficient substitute for spring break.

“Spring break definitely is better than the random days off,” Johnny Shampo, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. 

Some students said they liked having the mental health day as a break from classes but agreed with Shampo that they don’t make up for the lack of spring break.

“It was nice to have a day off of class but they feel kind of useless and I’m sure everyone would much rather have an actual spring break instead of the mental health days,” Megan Halldow, a first-year in the College of Health Sciences, said. 

While all classes are canceled during mental health daysboth the Rec Plex and the Helfaer Rec Center are open throughout the day for student use during regular operating hours.

The mental health days also caused some confusion for students about what was expected of them in their classes that week.

“It messed me up not knowing whether my Tuesday/Thursday class had any Teams meeting that week or if it was all asynchronous stuff. I didn’t really get that much done that week because of the confusion,” Gorney said.

The next mental health day will take place next week, Wednesday, March 10.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu