By Lara Becker
As the pandemic compounds an already stressful time of the semester, the majority of students would agree that they need a break.
Sophomore Madison Willitts, a special education major with a concentration in English, works two jobs on top of a busy weekly schedule and said she often uses her weekends to get ahead for the following week.
The constant cycle that every day brings, especially without the hope of a break, has been mentally draining and makes it difficult for Willitts to stay motivated. She’s not the only student nearing burnout.
Intending to remedy this issue while also discouraging travel during the pandemic, President Foster announced in an email that a “Recharge Week” would take place from March 29 to April 2. She described it as a “more relaxed week [that] is intended to relieve the stresses of a long semester,” alongside another Spring Day Off on Tuesday, March 30.
While classes would still be held during the week, students were told that professors would be holding back on giving homework and assignments.
On the College’s academic page, however, the definition of “Recharge Week” is described differently, and is not necessarily applicable to all students.
The page notes that professors “will incorporate Recharge Week into their courses and syllabi as best fits their curriculum,” but that “not all faculty members and academic areas may be able to participate due to the nature of the course and/or professional accreditation/certification requirements.”
“I don’t know about you, but I think [I’m going to] be the opposite of recharged,” said junior biology major Karan Gupta, who has three exams scheduled during the Recharge Week.
In two Instagram polls, The Signal asked students if their professors had marked Recharge Week on their calendars, and if they had remembered not to assign homework for the week.
Out of 639 respondents, 58% (372 students) said their professors did not remember it was Recharge Week.
Out of 626 respondents, 83% (518 students) said their professors still assigned homework during Recharge Week.
Although not all professors may choose to accommodate time-off from their syllabi, many students feel that they should understand a need for a more relaxed week.
Senior communications major Eunice Olugbile said that even when Recharge Week was announced back in December, she was wary of the pseudo-spring break.
Without a mandatory enforcement of what the week actually entailed, she said it played out exactly as she predicted it would.
“I feel like there was nothing official announced, or even a reminder about Recharge Week, so it’s just really unfair to students — to sit through all of these months and give all of our efforts to school, work, family, during a pandemic, and see that there are people who aren’t taking it seriously at all, and feel like we are getting punished for something we can’t control,” Olugbile said.
Kayla Johnson, a junior psychology and criminology major, said that on top of everything else students have had to deal with this year, this discrepancy feels unfair.
“The school knew what they were doing [by putting] the responsibility on professors to give us off next week or not,” she said “It’s frustrating that not all professors are giving us an actual break week but at the same time they’re planning their curriculum around how many days there are in the school year, and if the higher-up administration wanted us to actually have a break they could have given it to us — they’re just trying to redirect our anger towards the professors instead of them.”
Many students appreciate the gesture of the Spring Days Off and Recharge Week, but the majority agrees it may not have gone according to plan.
“I’m trying to maintain some compassion for professors because I know they’re going through tough times too, and at least mine have been extremely accommodating, though I know that’s not the case for everyone which also is unfair,” Johnson said.
Sophomore speech pathology major Mariana Aguiar also appreciated the Spring Day off on Tuesday.
“The only day we technically have off is Tuesday, so whether or not they give us work to do asynchronously on any day other than Tuesday is up to them. I’m just glad to have off from Zoom at least,” she said.
Ultimately, Olugbile believes that the confusion has created an air of inconsistency across student classes this week.
“Recharge week was announced without any real thought to it,” she said. “I don’t think many professors even know that it’s happening or what it even is, because we don’t really know what it is.”