Queen’s should reconsider implementing a fall reading week.
In a 2007 AMS plebiscite question, the student body voted against a second reading week. The climate on campus has since changed, and with an almost entirely new student population, it’s worth asking the question again.
Recently schools like Ryerson, Trent and the University of Toronto added a reading week in the fall term.
At Queen’s, a similar initiative could help students deal with rising stress levels. Having a week off of class to catch up on assignments and readings would be helpful.
It could be beneficial for student mental health.
While it’s an oversimplification to assume that a break would resolve mental health issues on campus, it could certainly help with student stress levels. Having time to catch up on work and relax would lessen the stress caused by approaching midterms.
A fall reading week would also give upper-year students a chance to be proactive and work on applications for post-graduate studies or employment.
Many graduate programs set application deadlines for early November, and having a reading week beforehand would give students the extra time needed to gather reference letters, write cover letters and update resumes.
The week of class time lost for a fall reading week would have to be allocated from somewhere. Because classes start relatively late in September — this year the semester began on Sept. 12 — the summer might be a good option. It could mean reducing Frosh Week as well.
A shortened summer holiday is a valid concern. Many students work full time during the summer months to help pay for tuition and rent.
A break could result in a loss of earnings, but Queen’s starts comparitively late so it’s still possible for students to work until Labour Day even with an added reading week.
If the question of a fall reading week is brought to the student body, it should carry attendant questions including when students would like to see the time appropriated from.
Whatever the possible pitfalls associated with a fall reading week, it’s a discussion that needs to be re-opened.
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