The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Summer Recharge: Students discuss why breaks from school are so important

Preciosa Ríos

As the spring quarter is ending, and the temperatures are already rising, students at DePaul have expressed how eager they are for the summer break.

Whether spending summer working, at internships or on a vacation, many emphasize the need for a break from school to help their mental health.

A study by Frontiers in Psychology that surveyed 843 college students and evaluated whether academic stress levels affected their mental health found that a higher level of perceived academic stress is associated with worse mental well-being in college students within the United States. 

While she is still waiting to hear back from multiple employers, DePaul junior Vanesa Simic described the “academic pressure” she feels about being productive during the two-and-a-half-month break.

 “It’s just like when you go on LinkedIn, and you see everyone … posting the jobs that they have for the summer,” Simic said. “Just by seeing all the opportunities that they have, … you feel like you also have to do (more).”

Having worked as a legal assistant at a law firm during previous summers, Simic would also like to visit her parents in Bosnia, her parents’ home country.

But she said the need to step away from that academic pressure is important for many students, even if they’re not spending their summers completely free.

“It’s really important to have a period of time where you’re not trying to get grades or anything like that,” Simic said.

However, Isabella Nieto, a junior majoring in biological sciences, is taking a course at DePaul over the summer while also working as a medical assistant. She said taking this course in the summer will help her fulfill prerequisites before the next academic year.

“I originally dropped organic chemistry in the winter because it was affecting my mental health,” Nieto said.

It’s the first time she has taken a summer course. In her previous summer breaks, Nieto always had a few weeks when she wasn’t working or doing summer research, which she says was important for her “to rejuvenate.”

But she also feels pressure to fulfill scholarship requirements, such as service work or research, with part of her summer break.

“So if you don’t do that, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, you’re not doing anything to progress yourself, so we’re giving you this money for no reason,’” Nieto said.

Patience Owens, a DePaul freshman, also takes courses over the summer at a community college to help her stay on track with her plans to become an educator. Owens said she chose DePaul because of the break between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

“I think having a break is very important, especially because classes are super intense,” Owens said.

Reflecting on the challenges DePaul students face under a quarter system, Owens noted the intense pressure and relentless pace that comes with it.

“The classes are so fast,” said Owens, who is majoring in History Education. “You have to turn out work like a robot.” 

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