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IUPUI students report burnout after college removes spring, fall breaks

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — While many students are fresh off of their spring breaks, some students at IUPUI are experiencing extreme burnout with no end in sight.

A year of exclusively online learning is starting to take a toll on some college students’ mental health. Many report burnout as their class work seems to be increasing due to the online-learning model and the loss of some much-needed time off.

Students at IUPUI are still hard at work online learning desperately waiting to turn their calendars to May so they can finally get a break. “Definitely experience a lot of burnout,” said sophomore Jacob Nevitt.

Nevitt is in IUPUI’s education program. He says it has been rough without a fall break or a spring break this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. “It is like a reward pretty much. You have done all of this work and then you finally are just done for a while.”

The online-learning model is especially challenging for students who prefer in-person, hands-on learning. Engineering major Joseph Gallagher took the semester off and is doing an internship waiting to go back to school until classes are in-person.

“I have always been the student that wants to sit in the very front of the class. I have ADHD on top of everything else so once I don’t have that physical contact with a teacher, then there was just a big mental shift and it was really hard for me to just focus in during my classes,” Gallagher said.

After students wrote to the university about how challenging the fall semester was without any kind of break, IUPUI built in two separate “wellness days” where students would not have class in place of the canceled weeklong spring break.

“Our teachers still assign us like five or six assignment that are due on that (wellness) day, so it is like we are still on our ‘relaxing day’ (and) we are still doing a lot of homework that we shouldn’t be doing because we are supposed to be getting out breather,” Nevitt said.

Some students say their workload and schedules are more rigorous now that classes are online. “So in the end, we really had to go through probably about three times as much lecture time just for one course,” said Gallagher, making that time off more important now than ever before.

“When you are in class you have a week or at least a long weekend that you can relax you don’t have to worry about assignments,” Nevitt said.

Students who spoke with News 8 are looking forward to the fall when IUPUI plans to return to in-person classes as well as a regular schedule that includes spring and fall breaks.

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