I feel that my good friend Eggy Benzireg ’21 sums up the general consensus on how people feel about St. Olaf’s rest days. “Rest days? More like stress days!” I couldn’t help but laugh about how ironically accurate this was. Their awkward placement in the middle of the week gives me a glimpse of the relaxation I experience on the weekend. But then I’m plunged into the icy waters of reality as I remember I still have two more days of school left!
This kind of confusion and stress is what prompted the petition for a “no outside classwork week,” to simulate an actual spring break, which ultimately passed without any administrative change.
If anything, this one day of rest creates more confusion. What do we do for this one day? Play a little volleyball outside Ytterboe with friends? Worry about the work that is due for the rest of the week? Get more sleep?
I asked my friends for their opinion in order to reflect on my own. Izzy Black-Johnston ’21 described not liking them too much. “They make me more tired, and in general they’re work days for me.” She also brought up the valuable point that three rest days are not equivalent to a spring break. In past years where we got a whole week off we were able to feel rejuvenated from the feeling of burnout that sinks in midway through the semester.
Another question that comes to mind is why not make the rest day on a Friday or Monday? In this way, Olaf students could enjoy a longer weekend. Clearly, this situation was not in the realm of possibility due to concerns of students partying or traveling off-campus in the midst of the pandemic. However, my friend Brita Gallagher ’21 suggested a scenario of rest days that I think could’ve worked out better: What about having two rest days in a row? If we’re going to have a random day off in the middle of the week, at least make it a longer period so students can recover.
Most importantly, in light of the heightened Yellow Alert Level on campus, our recent rest day had students stay on campus. In the past, spring break was an opportunity for me to get away from school. But now that we’re in lockdown, I’m unable to escape the stressful school environment. This factor, with the daily stressors of the pandemic and feelings of all-around unmotivation, makes it difficult for me to clear my mind for rest.
Juliana Goldman ’21 and Josie Goellner ’22 suggested organizing more events and activities organized on campus during rest days. Perhaps a movie night outside? Events like these could help bring the student community together and allow us to de-stress on rest days.
Although these rest days are appreciated, and better than none at all. I feel that there are creative ways St. Olaf could’ve arranged them so that we feel less burnt out. In the end, though the rest days may seem nice in the moment, I’m always left wanting more.
Laras Kettner is from
Her major is nursing.