Wellness Day Blues: PSU Students Give Mixed Opinions on Spring Break Replacement
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State held its second wellness day this past Thursday as part of the university's spring break replacement this year after the extension of winter break and fear of a potential COVID spike following spring break.
The wellness days were meant to provide some form of respite after losing spring break, but the feeling amongst a number of students is that the decision to replace spring break was made in error.
Spring break’s week-long duration allows students a chance to unwind before the strain of final exams, but with only a day here and there to break things up, some students feel like these days off are merely a drop in the bucket.
“We should’ve just had a spring break to begin with,” junior cyber security major Payton DuLong said. “Getting rid of spring break and adding in wellness days doesn’t help what spring break was meant to be for.”
In some cases, the wellness days are akin to an irregular class dismissal, which is especially true given how its effects are different for each student.
For students such as junior Anton O’Malley, the wellness day did not even register as a break.
“I don’t have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and two of the three wellness days are on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” explained the aerospace engineering major. “So, to me, it’s just another regular day in my week.”
Indeed, one of the issues brought up by students was the placement of the wellness days. Some barely registered this decision but agreed that having a wellness day at the start or end of the week would have been much better.
The placement of the wellness days may have been meant as a shot in the arm for a stressed student in a busy week, but when asked if it would make more sense to have the wellness days next to weekends, junior economics major Joe Banzhoff agreed it would be eminently more desirable for students.
“It would make sense because that would allow for an extended break, which is what everyone wants,” Banzhoff said.
Turbulent COVID conditions melding with the usual stress over exams has left students feeling even more stressed out than usual.
“It’s not what we need for the semester,” O’Malley said. “A lot of students are just burnt out.”
This is not to say that students take the reprieve for granted, as Banzhoff expressed.
“I’m happy that the wellness days are here,” Banzhoff said. “I had a good time to relax.”
Penn State has had to make many adjustments during this difficult time period, but students and staff are thankful that as vaccines are rolled out, life will get closer to normal the closer we get to the end of the school year.
Eric McGinty is a junior majoring in film production. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.