Fall Break or Study Break?

Many students are still recovering from the misconception of fall break. While the term “break” implies a respite for students to go home and relax, most of The Outlook staff spent their two days of no classes writing papers and studying for midterms, which professors were required to submit by Tuesday, Oct. 22.

According to Dr. Franca Mancini, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, fall break is scheduled in the academic calendar to give students a chance to physically and mentally recover from any stress caused by academics, extra-curricular activities or being away from home.

This stress is highest for college students at this time of year. Mancini said, “It is true, also, that requests for services tend to increase during this time of year, and we see another spike right after mid-terms, when students realistically assess where they stand in their classes. Overall, on our campus and nationwide, the number of students requesting mental health services is between 9 to 11 percent. Monmouth is no different.”

The Outlook staff believes that having midterms the week following fall break was much more work than we were equipped to handle. We understand that professors have deadlines to meet as well, but some of the editors think that due dates for papers and exams could have been spread out so we had more time to prepare. While those few hours we spent in class on Thursday and Friday were now ours to spend, however, other obligations, such as work or internships did not offer us breaks.

One editor points out that fall break could just as well have been called reading days for midterms, like the University gives us before finals. Calling those two days a “break” deceived some of The Outlook staff into believing we had time to relax. Meanwhile, the homework piled up and we were faced with even more worries the following Monday than we had when we left campus.

Time management should not be a concern if the time we are given is supposed to be for relaxing, spending time with family and avoiding anything that may cause us to worry. However, if we do not manage our time wisely, we end up buried in assignments upon our return to the University.

Although The Outlook staff was frustrated at the amount of work they had to complete over fall break, one makes the point that many schools do not get a break at all. For example, Rutgers University does not give students time off before their midterms. Our workloads would have been the same, regardless of whether or not we had a break. For that reason, some of The Outlook staff is grateful for the time we were given while others still believe it should be extended or eliminated.

The stress that students experience over fall break cannot simply be attributed to the University. Often, professors choose to make assignments due or give exams the week we return. For them, it is because they are required to grade and submit these assignments by a certain date; for us, it seems as though they are all giving us unnecessary work that is due at the same time. Midterms are not allotted the same two hour periods as finals are, so why do so many classes find it necessary to use a full class time to give exams when we could be moving forward with lectures and lessons?

Ultimately, The Outlook staff believes that the stress we all experienced during this fall break stemmed from the misconception that fall break was an opportunity to relax and enjoy time at home. For those of us who did use that time for non-academic activities, we were even more overwhelmed come Monday morning. Our general consensus is this: although we appreciate the reading days, if the University is going to give us a “break,” please give us a break.