SpringBrokenCOVID

Michaela Wilkins is experiencing senior burnout in what she calls her last “disappointing” semester at the University of Georgia.

Spring break was originally scheduled for next week, March 8-12. Now, most students at UGA will spend the week preparing for exams and assignments, as the midterm of the semester approaches on March 9.

On Oct. 29, UGA pushed the beginning of the spring semester back by two days and added three one-day instructional breaks to the 2021 calendar. The two remaining instructional breaks are March 12 and April 8. Classes will not be held on these days, but campus will remain open.

Wilkins, a double major in English and theater, said she spent the Feb. 17 instructional break working on a project for 10 hours. Her presentation was due Thursday, but her professor sent feedback notes on the draft Wednesday morning around 1 a.m.

On Twitter, Wilkins described being a student this semester as “miserable” and said UGA doesn’t care about student mental health.

Wilkins usually pushes through her classes when the midterm approaches and utilizes the spring break as a “middle time” to recharge. Wilkins said this is what keeps her in a healthy mindset.

“But not having that break I'm like, I guess I'm gonna keep pushing until May, and that's what I think is really hard because there's not a week to catch up on everything and catch up on sleep and stuff. So it feels like every week I’ve just become so burned out from the last week, but I have more work to do this week and so I just keep pushing,” Wilkins said.

Like Wilkins, Rebeccah Kinz, a senior management major, is “extremely upset” about the canceled spring break. Kinz, who works two jobs as a waitress and human resource intern, said she spent the Feb. 17 instructional break studying for an 9:35 a.m. exam the next day.

“I needed that break to emotionally de-stress and reconnect with family and friends — I was so pissed I had to study all day long when it was so gorgeous outside,” Kinz said.

Kinz said professors should not be able to assign any work that’s due the day after an instructional break, and they should be punished if they do.

Some professors plan to cancel classes next week in place of spring break. However, the majority of students will progress with normal operations.

Both Wilkins and Kinz said UGA must do better to address student concerns. The two would benefit if the instructional breaks took place on a Monday or Friday, instead of in the middle of the week where classes and work are at their peak.

“While you're in school, you're having to work past your classes, then during the weekends, to get everything done — especially if you work a typical 9-to-5 job on the side,” Kinz said.

Kinz also emphasized that every student needs days to themselves away from staring at a computer screen for hours, especially amid a pandemic that has diverted most classes to Zoom.