Towards the end of the fall semester, Grand Valley State University students learned that there would be no spring break offered during the winter semester. This surprised many, as students look forward to their spring break to help and some much-needed time off.
The university announced that March 10 and April 1 will be days off of classes for students to get a break from work in the hopes of helping their mental health and easing stress.
But is that enough?
Many students have already expressed concerns and dismay when regarding the lack of spring break time off this year. One of the first things to be shared around GVSU’s campuses and online was a petition for students to gain some sort of mental health break.
The GVSU administration listened, and gave students two days off during the later weeks in the semester, expressing that the Counseling Center is open for students as a resource every semester. Despite the announcement, this left many students wondering if the new days off are enough.
Eric Klingensmith, Associate Director of Clinical and Crisis Services at GVSU, encouraged students to visit the GVSU counseling website for tips to help themselves through their social media, group counseling, online help via Telehealth, and even view their self-help videos. He also urged students to use the resources on the counseling website if students find themselves in need of help.
“It’s really hard to say what it’s going to be like,” Klingensmith said. “My job is I worry about students’ mental health all the time. I always encourage students to practice self-help.”
Students have expressed concerns about their mental health since the first mention of the lack of spring break. Daniela Ceccato, an Italian exchange student in her senior year of high school who chose to come to GVSU, expressed her concerns about her ability to travel back home.
“Another struggle I am facing personally is that I haven’t been able to go home for almost two years now and not knowing when I will be able to go,” said Ceccato.
Not all students face the struggles of not being able to return home, but there is much concern for the unknown of the upcoming years with many students worried about classes staying online, passing classes and what graduation will look like.
Many students have worries and concerns, but not many know about all the services available. The counseling center offers many programs to try and help students, their mental, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. At the center, a GVSU student can receive 10 free individual counseling sessions. Students also have the availability of group sessions, which have no set limit on how many sessions a student can attend.
GVSU leadership is doing all that it can to help students in these unusual times and will continue to advocate for the resources that are available for students who are struggling with any number of issues from mental health to academic success. The resources are there, so hopefully, students will seize them this semester.