Days off are for rest, not extra work


The word “rest” is not in a Trinity student’s vocabulary in the middle of October. Midterms hit hard, sometimes for weeks on end, and it isn’t uncommon to hear classmates almost bragging about how little sleep they got the night before because they were up all night studying or finishing papers.

Part of this is just college. But part of it is feeling like we’re students first, humans second — to the point where if we’re not using every second of our free time to study, we often feel guilty or as if we’ll be behind our classmates if we dare take one day to ourselves. Days like today, our fall break, are a godsend. That is, until we have a mile-high stack of work assigned after midterms, the second we hear “pencils down.”

Fall break is students’ single day off classes between the academic holidays of Labor Day and Thanksgiving, and it’s a well-warranted break from coursework amid midterms. Students rely on breaks throughout the calendar year to recuperate from the stressors and fast-paced nature of a college semester.

Every week, we’re flooded with assignments, papers, exams and more, with days off few and far between. Having even just one day added to our weekend makes a difference, giving us another 24 hours to tend to ourselves.

When we’re assigned additional coursework over the break, the intended benefits of that additional day are long gone.

With a mere total of five days off in fall 2021, including our Thanksgiving break, students deserve to have their breaks honored. Assigning work over breaks communicates a disrespect of students’ needs and boundaries; an assertion that our time is better spent doing an extra day of coursework rather than getting much-needed rest.

We no longer want to hear, “I gave you a little more to do than normal since you have an extra day this weekend.”

We want to hear, “I respect your time and understand that you will be the best student you can be when you care for yourself.”

Because it’s true; we are better students when we rest.

According to the University of South Florida’s sleep blog, inadequate sleep inhibits our brains’ ability to encode information and affects our procedural memory. Lo and behold, college students cited lack of sleep as the second highest obstacle for their academic performance.

It’s not just all about sleep, though. It’s about being able to spend the time that we’re awake interacting with friends and family in a nonacademic way, doing hobbies and consuming media like books and movies because we actually want to.

Even without explicitly assigned work, Trinity students will be Trinity students and will still think about school on our “off” days. Having work that’s due the day after a “break” renders the break completely useless.

So, if you find yourself yawning through calculus problems or a paper this weekend, put it down for a little while. Go take a nap or something. Be human first, and take care of yourself.