Fall break returns after COVID-19 cancellation


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Grace Smith, Staff Writer

Following the absence of last year’s fall break due to COVID-19, Grand Valley State University students have been looking forward to having a chance to spend time with their family and friends, and catch up on some much-needed rest and relaxation. 

Spanning Sunday, Oct 24 through Tuesday, Oct. 26, students will be granted time to travel home to their families, catch up on assignments and decompress from the previous week’s midterms. 

For many, this year’s fall break is being welcomed back with open arms in comparison to last year’s mental health days in place of mid-semester breaks. For students, issues quickly arose when professors viewed these days as time to spend catching up on classwork and studying.

“Last year my professors viewed those days as days to do homework and would assign a heavier workload during those weeks which was frustrating,” said GVSU student Amara Klisch.. “This year my professors are saying we will have no homework due Saturday to Wednesday of that week which gives us a true break.”

Although GVSU stated that these days were intended to provide students with a much-needed break during the nearly non-stop semester, with no one to regulate, they became misconstrued as a time to catch up on assignments. Some students, like Mikaela Brzuchowski, said they worry the same will happen to fall break. 

I’ve had a couple professors say that this fall break is meant for catching up on assignments and school which is kind of discouraging,” Brzuchowski said. “This is a lot of students’ first time back on campus in one and a half plus years. It’s been a big adjustment and is mentally exhausting.”

For many, the return of a full fall break is a welcome alternative to last year’s mental health days, as there are more opportunities to spend homework-free time with family and friends. 

One of their suggestions towards helping with feelings of distress is using effective studying techniques, where you study for an amount of time and then take a short break. Part of what makes fall break an important part of the academic calendar is the large-scale mirroring of this technique. GVSU student Jerzy Muscat said the break can be very helpful for students’ mental health if it is really treated as a break. 

“It may not seem like a lot but having the break gives students a chance to relax,” Muscat said. “Having the break will be more beneficial than the mental health days if professors do not view the break as a way to catch up like the mental health days were last year.”

Students like Muscat are taking time over break to visit their families. Break being scheduled following a weekend, rather than in the middle of the week, gives students a chance to travel if they chose to