Saturday workload causes burnout

By Clarissa King Oct 23, 2020
Many students feel overwhelmed by online learning’s extra workload. 
Photo: Emma Cottrell

With the arrival of Saturday classes this year, and the general notion of the semester being shorter, many professors and organizations have looked to the weekends even more than usual to schedule exams, more homework, meetings and events. 

I do not agree with the university’s decision to have conducted Saturday school this semester. However, they are retiring it, and for the sake of this article, it is not what I will be refuting.

Even when university-required classes finished, some professors still chose to have students work on the weekend. 

For example, one professor has had two of his classes take both of their exams for the semester so far on the weekend when there was no university-required Saturday school. He almost planned one class’s exam on Sunday this time around, and the other class did have a Sunday exam. The professor found that many students were busy on the weekends with their plans. If he kept it during the regular time, that issue wouldn’t exist. 

Also, there are music ensembles like the Titan Band planning weekend events, like a Sunday concert. 

On top of that, professors are assigning more and more weekend homework.

The purpose of a weekend is to recharge, hence weekdays being referred to as the “working week.” So why should students and faculty be working then? 

Everyone needs a break between each week; being done with one week of hard work and enjoying some time before the next one begins. Otherwise, all of that constant work can lead to burnout. 

Burnout is a real condition- it was named a real mental health issue by the World Health Organization (WHO) in late May of 2019, even though the term has existed since the 1970s. It is the result of stress from work- for us students, that’s school. Since it is work-related, professors should be mindful of their stress too, and should not be planning anything for that reason as well.

Combined with mental health issues that many people are facing due to the pandemic, it is fair to say that burnout is bound to hit anyone at IWU.

“Combined with mental health issues that many people are facing due to the pandemic, it is fair to say that burnout is bound to hit anyone at IWU.”

Students should be able to choose how they are spending their weekends. If they are in sports, music or clubs with weekend commitments that they are aware of and they choose to do those activities, great. But if teachers are choosing to make those requirements, that is where the problem is. 

The underlying idea is that students know their schedule and stress level, so their time is up to them. The same goes for faculty. Plus, students have household chores, like laundry and dishes to take care of. Not to mention going home or talking to family on the weekends.

Another very important reason why professors and organizations shouldn’t be taking over the weekends is for some students’ religious reasons, particularly students who are Christian or Jewish. Both of these faiths follow a set of moral principles called the “Ten Commandments,” and one of these commandments says to observe a day of rest and religious reflection. 

For Jewish students, it is from Friday night to Saturday morning, and for Christian students, it is Sunday. 

According to the clause of freedom of religion under the first amendment of our constitution, people should not have any barriers put in place such that they can not practice their religions, so the school should not be barring students from having that day of rest that is vital to their faiths. 

As a religiously diverse campus, the school should be aware that they need to support everyone’s freedom concerning religion.

In this already tough time, professors and organizations should avoid planning events for Saturdays, as that is free time and rest time for students so that they can be their best for the next week. 

Professors should take advantage of their time outside of the classroom too and take a mental break. 

There should be little to no homework on weekends, as the weekend can be catch-up time for students who wish to do some work from the week prior or get a head start for the coming week. The operative word is “wish,” weekends are a time when everyone should be able to decide what they do with their time.

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