USC students experienced their first two Wellness Days in school history this March. The university announced in October 2020 that five spaced-out full-day breaks would replace the traditional week-long spring break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university swapped Wellness Days for Spring Break to minimize the risk of COVID-19 cases through traveling to major spring break destinations while allowing students to still get the perks of a break during the semester. The University’s goal was to distribute the days evenly to not overburden any teaching day and limit travel.

According to the Provost’s Oct. 14 memo, students are encouraged to use these days to be with family and friends, rest and exercise for better overall wellness.

While some students have the time to participate in fun activities, others had to use their time away from school to do more school work, contradicting the point of Wellness Days.

Here’s how some USC students made the most of their days off.

Nicole Antounian, junior journalism major
Nicole Antounian drove to Las Vegas from Los Angeles to attend her sister’s wedding. (Photo by Nicole Antounian).
Nicole Antounian drove to Las Vegas from Los Angeles to attend her sister’s wedding. (Photo by Nicole Antounian).

On March 12, Antounian drove to Las Vegas from Los Angeles with her family to attend her sister’s COVID-19 wedding at the famed Little White Chapel. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the chapel only allowed up to five people and the bride and groom even had to wear masks.

“It was a well-deserved break from school and I am grateful I was able to spend my day off with my family!” Antounian said. “I like the idea of Wellness Days, I think it’s very generous of the school to give us breaks within the week and let us take a breather. I’m looking forward to the next Wellness Day.”

Ryan Lewis, junior real estate development major
Ryan Lewis drove to San Diego and took the scenic route home. (Photo by Ryan Lewis).
Ryan Lewis drove to San Diego and took the scenic route home. (Photo by Ryan Lewis).

Lewis looked forward to his Wellness Day to finally close the deal on the car he had been researching for months. Lewis traveled to San Diego from L.A. and took the beautiful ocean scenic route home. It was a successful day for him.

“On the Tuesday Wellness Day, I went down to San Diego to go buy a car I’ve had my eye on for a while,” Lewis said. “It worked out perfectly that we had a weekday off so I could make the trip.”

Mackenzie Franks, sophomore environmental studies major
Mackenzie Franks shopped at the Grove on her Wellness Day. (Photo by Alan Light/Flickr).
Mackenzie Franks shopped at the Grove on her Wellness Day. (Photo by Alan Light/Flickr).

Franks and her roommate shopped at the Grove, a primarily outdoor mall in L.A., and got some lunch to end the week. They loved going to the special Farmer’s Market there too.

“It was very nice to have the day off,” Franks said. “It was definitely a nice change from being cooped up in our place all day for class.”

Josh Wilson, freshman popular music major
Josh Wilson spent his Wellness Day catching up on homework and studying. (Photo by John Wilson).
Josh Wilson spent his Wellness Day catching up on homework and studying. (Photo by John Wilson).

Josh spent his Wellness Day catching up on homework and studying for upcoming exams. Although working on school is not what the university had planned for students, Josh felt as if he had no other option with his workload.

“I’ve only studied during my Wellness Days,” said Josh Wilson, a freshman popular music major. “Spring break is very essential for a student to stay on track. I imagine we may notice a dip in grades because students were not given that week off to recharge.”

Oftentimes, the stress of having incomplete assignments or upcoming exams can be overbearing. For students such as Josh, taking time away from completing schoolwork can be just as stressful as having to attend class itself.

Students have three more Wellness Days left in the semester on Wednesday, April 7, Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 30.