By Siegrid Massie
As a Baptist university, our education is founded on biblical principles, one of which being the concept of the Sabbath on Sunday. One of the very first lessons we glean from the Bible is that God needed one day of uninterrupted rest to recover from the fatigue of creating the universe.
Baylor students may not be designing creation throughout their week, but that doesn’t mean we need Sunday as a day of rest and rejuvenation any less.
Genesis 2:3 says “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
Online learning has been a blessing and a curse, and this has never been more evident than in the last year. Although online learning comes with the convenience of doing classes from the comfort of your couch, it also comes with unprecedented 24-hour access between professors and students. This access has come with the invasive idea that it is okay to interrupt a key time in the week with additional work.
While many of our professors remember the times when assignment deadlines were 5 p.m. during weekdays, online learning has allowed present students to work up to the all too familiar 11:59 p.m. deadline (guilty). Not only are these deadlines getting pushed later into the day, but they are also getting pushed farther into the week — into the coveted weekends.
If there’s one thing many of us have learned this year, it’s that there is a certain level of exhaustion that comes with staring at a computer screen for hours on end (the dreaded Zoom fatigue), and for most of us, weekends are a time to unplug, get outside and enjoy the activities that allow us to destress. There might be the occasional unavoidable Saturday quiz or exam, but the one day that should be an assignment, quiz, essay and exam-free day is Sunday.
More and more, professors are assigning tasks that must be completed by Sunday, 11:59 p.m., with some not even giving notice of the assignments until the day itself. This invasion into our day of rest is disrespectful of the students’ time, mental health and religious freedoms.
Eroding the idea of the Sabbath has caused unprecedented stress, exhaustion and breakdown. Irrespective of an individual student’s status of faith, as a university that prides itself on providing a quality Christian education, we cannot continue to selectively choose the biblical values we honor.
Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from this concept. Faculty, staff and administration members need Sunday as a time to recharge from the previous week and mentally prepare for the upcoming days.
Unless it’s an emergency, professors are equally deserving to spend their Sundays with the people they love, doing the things they love without the distracting notifications of assignments rolling into the system.
In a semester with no large breaks and very few intended university-wide holidays in sight, students, faculty, staff and administration need to treat the precious time we have on Sunday with care and not impose work on others so needlessly, especially when the deadline could have waited another 12 hours.
The Sabbath is not intended as an obstacle for professors but a necessary gift from God in recognition that our energies and spirits are exhaustive. As such, stop taking away our gift, stop assigning work to be done on the Sabbath and give us back our Sunday.