It is Week 10.
I only know that because I went through my calendar and counted it myself. Weeks have begun to blur together. Due dates have replaced the days of the week.
And I am nearing a complete burnout.
I chose UB for a multitude of reasons. I wanted to be near a big city, be surrounded by a diverse student body and challenge myself with more opportunities to grow. I never expected to feel like UB would choose to steamroll over me and the rest of its student body.
We have had only one day off — one day off — since classes began on Aug. 30. It will be three more weeks until we get an extended weekend off for Thanksgiving.
By comparison, students at SUNY Binghamton will have had six days off by the time their Thanksgiving break rolls around.
Binghamton students have off for Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, a two-day fall break and Thanksgiving break.
That’s nine days over the course of the fall semester.
Binghamton’s consideration for Jewish students — giving off for the holiest days in Judaism — goes above and beyond what UB does. UB continues to hold classes during the Jewish holidays and requires its students to make alternative arrangements for their classes on these days. UB has also permanently closed the only kosher eatery on-campus, the New York Deli & Diner, and leaves students who keep kosher with limited grab-n-go options.
The University at Albany and Stony Brook University, SUNY’s other two university centers, each have a two-day fall break and three days off before Thanksgiving break for Labor Day. Almost every other SUNY has at least two days off in October. Plattsburgh even has a two day break in October for Indigenous People’s Day.
If every other major institution in the SUNY system can give its students a break, why can’t UB give its students a break too?
Mental health is as urgent and alarming a problem as any on campuses across the U.S. This problem continues to persist at UB. Last semester was brutal after UB chose to cancel spring break and declined to add any mental health days to supplement the additional stress it imposed on community members.That decision destroyed student and faculty morale and academic performance.
Despite students’ pleas to have a mental health day, the university never heeded our cries.
We are still in the midst of a pandemic which has raged on for 20 months. Even though campus has slowly — painfully slowly — come back to life, it isn’t quite what it used to be.
Students are forced to wait in impossibly long lines at the few dining centers that are even open due to staffing issues. Despite a 99% vaccination rate among students and a 90+% vaccination rate among faculty members, we still have to wear masks indoors while on campus. Students are still adjusting to in-person classes after spending a year and a half at Zoom University, and for some, it is their first time in Buffalo.
And despite tuition remaining steady, we don’t even know if Fall/Spring Fest will take place.
The UB administration can’t pretend students are okay when students have been conversing about their mental health and the need for breaks since last semester.
As a senior at UB, I find it abhorrent that the higher-ups have forgotten some of the most important conversations on campus last semester. Students deserve a break during the semester.
We can’t keep going on like this.
It’s enough already.
Julie Frey is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Frey is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is a political science and environmental studies double major. She enjoys theorizing about Taylor Swift, the color yellow and reading books that make her cry. She can be found on Twitter @juliannefrey.