Quinnipiac University students expressed mixed responses toward the university’s decision to implement self-care days as a replacement for spring break.
In an October email, Provost Debra Liebowitz announced plans for the spring semester, including self-care days that were noted to be in the interest of “students’ continued physical and mental well-being.”
As it stands, there are two scheduled self-care days for the spring semester: March 9, and April 21. The latter is noted as “Bobcat Day” in the academic calendar. There is also a study day on May 3, in preparation for finals.
“We wanted to continue to have an opportunity for students to be rejuvenated and to make sure that they had smaller breaks,” said Tom Ellett, chief experience officer.
Matt Roteman, a sophomore nursing major, called the self-care days a “good alternative … to prevent students from contracting COVID-19 over a longer break.”
However, Roteman said the self-care days should be implemented regardless of the pandemic.
“Students go through enough stress and trouble as it is,” Roteman said. “Now we’re in a pandemic, which adds on even more stress, and these self-care days are only an alternative to spring break?”
As for whether self-care days will continue after the pandemic, Ellett said he has no comment on anything beyond this year but that he’s looking forward to hearing student feedback on whether the days are successful.
Caroline Emery, a first-year film major, echoed Roteman’s views.
“I think adding self-care days to the calendar is a great idea,” Emery said. “But taking away a very important and refreshing break away from students, especially in the climate that we’re in now isn’t sufficient.”
Other students wish the number of self-care days equated to the number of days normally given for spring break. Taylor Sherwood, a third-year 3+1 accounting major, called the self-care days “a good call” but that the three days is not adequate.
“Students should be given five self-care days because that would equal the total five days of spring break we usually receive in March,” Sherwood said.
Ellett said there are five break days throughout the semester.
“If you add the MLK Day and then four others — three plus the day for reading,” Ellett said. “So, we just took the five days that one would have had in the spring break and then moved them around.”
Noah Gilbert, a junior entrepreneurship and computer information systems double major, said the self-care days are a good idea, but a “slap in the face to students.”
“The fact (that) they’re called ‘self-care days’ but then (Quinnipiac) put them in finals and midterms week,” Gilbert said. “No student is going to use those days to recharge, they will just use it as more time to study.”
The March 9, self-care day falls during midterms week, and the May 3, study day is implemented during finals week.
Ellett said a faculty senate voted on the selection of the self-care dates and wanted to give students a variety of days off.
Anesu Mhene, a sophomore legal studies major, said the self-care days could be successful if done right.
“I think the school should at least increase the number of self-care days and spread them out more,” Mhene said.
Mhene added that she thinks the lack of semester breaks will have a strain on students and professors alike.
“Two self-care days is definitely not enough to serve as a replacement for five days of spring break,” Mhene said. “Not only do I think it will lead to academic burnout for students, but it will also put professors under much more stress.”