Why Three Day Weekends are Beneficial To Student’s Mental Health

Everyone knows the stress that school brings. Whether you are currently a student, or graduated last year or 50 years ago, we all remember feeling overwhelmed and lost in piles upon piles of homework. More often than not, students feel that professors do not remember being a student and feeling these negative emotions. When students, especially younger students, find themselves feeling overwhelmed and lost academically, it can lead to them feeling those same emotions in other aspects of their life. This can negatively affect their mental health, causing them to feel even more stress. 

College students are expected to juggle academics, navigating a new town, making new friends, living on their own for the first time and figuring out exactly who they want to be. On top of all of this, they usually have 15 hours of class time, not including the homework they must complete outside of class. The homework is usually much more complicated than the work done in class, and due to the large class sizes, professors are often not able to work closely with their students, leaving them feeling lost and alienated in the classroom.

All week, students look forward to the weekend as an escape from the busyness of the week. The weekend brings sleeping in and having free time to pursue activities they actually enjoy. However, more often than not, students spend most of the day Saturday and Sunday doing homework and chores. After sleeping in in an attempt to regain some of the lost sleep from the earlier week, students must focus on getting their homework, projects and exam prep completed. Not only are these days taken up from catching up from the previous week’s homework, but also attempting to get ahead for the upcoming week to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed. However, doing this takes up most of the weekend, leaving no time to relax and socialize with friends. 

Back in September, SLU decided to cancel classes on a Friday, giving students a long weekend to try and help them improve their mental health. The administration had the right idea; giving students more time off does give them more time to complete their work and have time to themselves. However, one three-day weekend every month or so does not do much for their overall mental health. While every Friday does not need to be a day off, cancelling Friday or Monday classes more frequently will help students improve their time management skills, as well as better their mental health. 

Having a three-day weekend lets students break up their work over three days instead of two. Hypothetically, if students use Friday to socialize and take some time to themselves, they can use Saturday to run errands and clean their living spaces, leaving Sunday to do homework and prep for the upcoming week. It also allows students to be able to sleep in on three days instead of just two. It is a proven fact that more sleep increases focus and overall health. Feeling well-rested also helps students stay motivated and helps them actually comprehend and understand what they are learning, instead of just memorizing for the exam. 

Giving students a three-day weekend more often encourages them to prioritize their mental health. Especially nowadays, students feel that they are only worth love and respect if they excel in all of their classes. They do not feel encouraged to live in the moment and enjoy such an influential period of their life: college. Students are worth more than their grades; they are not at university to work themselves to death. They should feel encouraged to do their best and work hard, but not feel that they must sacrifice everything in order to succeed or earn an A in a class. 

In the end, grades will change and in five years, no one is going to care if you aced or failed one paper. The health of students should be prioritized,  mental health. If universities like SLU feel their students’ mental health is declining, they should take action. SLU felt a three-day weekend would be beneficial to improving mental health. Therefore, three-day weekends should become normalized. They should not be seen as a “break,” nor should professors be allowed to assign work over these days off. Giving students a three-day weekend will increase their free time, allowing them to practice better time management skills and improve their mental health.