Just last week we were all enjoying Spring Break in our various ways. Some of us stayed here, some went home, and some were able to visit places beyond our borders. It was great. But here’s the downside: Unlike fall semester–where there are two breaks–in the winter we go from Spring Break to graduation without a break.
While not a complete consensus exists among students, a majority of two-thirds of the students at Southern agree that winter semester is more difficult. Students said things like, “I like the separation and downtime in fall semester” and “the weather during winter semester makes it harder to feel motivated.”
I definitely feel that I must echo that sentiment.
I believe that this combination of factors from weather, downtime, space between breaks and even burnout from first semester play important roles in how students feel during second semester. Overall, I would conclude that students have a significantly harder time coping with stress for the second half of the year. This should be of concern because studies have shown that college students already have high anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), ”teens and college students can easily feel anxious trying to juggle school, work, friends and family while trying to figure out the rest of their lives.”
It is safe to say that most of us want to be healthy, but all our responsibilities make it difficult to do so. This is especially true after the first semester. So what is the answer?
I propose two things. First, that Southern modify its approach to extra curricular activities and classes that travel. Much of the extra experiences that may be necessary for many students should be focused in the first instead of the second semester as much as possible. Secondly, students need more support during second semester to succeed. There are numerous challenges that they face, and professors and administrators should be sensitive to the needs of the students.
Image credit: Eric Rothermel
Written by Zachary Hagen