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Full Speed Ahead

by the Weekly Sillimanian | October 23, 2022

Students were hopeful when the Silliman University Student Government Student’s Rights and Welfare Committee (SUSG STRAW) released a survey to support the resolution authored by representatives from the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (ICLS) to have a mental health break after midterms.

Despite the resolution only requesting a three-day break, the SU Administration rejected it.

Before the resolution was presented to the administration, the principal authors garnered 1,256 responses from the student body through SUSG STRAW, consulted the League of Governors, the 32nd Student Assembly, and even had it endorsed by the Dean of Students. All to no avail. 

The resolution requested that the proposed mental health break be Nov. 3-5, matching the responses from STRAW’s survey.  Students preferred to have the break after midterm exams and to have the rest of the long weekend off. This three-day break would substitute the one week ‘screen break’ that was given to students during online classes. 

The justification for the proposed break’s disapproval is that the university is no longer operating solely online and that there will already be a long weekend from Oct. 28-Nov. 2.

This begs the question: Do students no longer deserve to have a break because in-person classes have resumed? Are the stressors and pressures from F2F classes trivial compared to those of online classes? 

In addition to the course workloads students need to keep up with, the return of F2F classes means commuting to campus, going to different classrooms or buildings for classes, and dealing with their organizations or committees on active physical operations. These are just a few of the factors that are to be taken into consideration now that F2F classes are back.

It is worth noting that although the screen break’s intent was to get students off their screens for a week, it was still a chance for them to take some time off to decompress and recuperate. Additionally, students were in the comforts of their own homes during online classes. Now that students are back on campus, a break would allow them to go back to hometowns or rest from constant back and forth travel.

Do students have room left to attend to their mental health? Their physical health? Is extending the long weekend for three more days to manage their stress really too much to ask?

With the support of the administration and campus stress management resources, many students would be able to keep their stress levels under control and even thrive in the college setting.

We from the Weekly Sillimanian call for the administration to recognize how important it is to consider mental health initiatives proposed by students and to create avenues for them to alleviate academic pressures, most especially during this period of adjustment from online to full-on F2F classes.

Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Act states that, “The state affirms the basic right of all Filipinos to mental health as well as the fundamental rights of people who require mental health services.” 

Shall we further demean the importance of this act and prove the criticism of its performative existence by setting this request aside so easily?


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