The importance of a wellness day for students and faculty after midterms
As students enter the 10th week of the semester, many are just coming out of the long and arduous midterm season. This board requests that the Brandeis administration require a wellness day in March and incorporate it within the academic calendar moving forward.
While the midterm season is not a specifically defined time frame like finals, it often takes place during the period between the February and April breaks. Although most midterms tend to be less weighted and contain less material than finals, unlike midterm exams, finals are preceded by study days where there are no classes in session. Students are thrust into midterms during a period where they are occupied with classes as well as extracurricular commitments.
Understandably, many students are feeling the pressure and stress that comes with midterms with many expressing feelings of being burnt out and lacking motivation. While having a spread out midterm period may seem like a good idea because it gives students time between big tests and assignments, having several weeks of midterms each semester is exhausting for students. Just as one finishes a midterm, another midterm rolls around and by the time the last midterm is finished, finals are already fast approaching.
The unrelenting nature of midterm season has severe consequences on student wellbeing by increasing anxiety, stress, and contributing to burnout. Even when caught up with all of their tasks and obligations, there is always an impending feeling of needing to start on work ahead of time which prevents students from being able to decompress. While stress is not necessarily a negative thing on its own, constant weeks upon weeks of stress will undoubtedly lead to negative mental and physical effects.
In light of these factors, this board advocates that the administration seriously consider a wellness day sometime before April break as was implemented in spring 2021. The board also suggests that the school consider the day that this wellness day is on. We are aware that the administration has emailed faculty asking them to cancel classes this coming Friday to give students a break as a part of a “Wellness Day” spearheaded by the Division of Student Affairs, the Student Union, and other student organizations. Several activities and resources, including free boba tea and ice cream and carnival games with dogs, will be featured. However, having a wellness day on Friday, when many students don’t have class anyway, will not have the desired effect that this board advocates for. Instead, a wellness day could be best used on a Monday or a Wednesday. In addition, professors are not required to cancel classes this Friday, which leaves many students out of luck. The alleviation of stress that a wellness day would bring to students would also be of benefit to faculty, who would be able to take a break from their hectic workload.