Second reading week debate

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PRO – Paige Kreutzwieser – Staff Writer

Start a day early and compress finals a day shorter for the chance to have one full week off in the fall semester? That in and of itself is a great argument. However, since I wasn’t allowed to write “hell yes” 250 times to prove my point (and meet my 500 word count), I am here to now prove to you, my fellow comrades, that we must stand up for what is right and what we justly deserve – a fall semester break.

It is true that shortening finals does not sound like a fun option, but how does a couple days on a beach, or in your backyard, or lying on your couch sound? Sounds pretty freaking awesome to me. Because that is what you will be getting—a week to do whatever you want without anyone telling you any different (except maybe your conscious telling you that you are a lazy piece of crap).

You may be saying, “But, Paige, I will still have homework to do during the time off.” Or, “my final schedule will be way too packed as a result of this.”

To that I say, “cry me a river.” You were going to have a week of schoolwork regardless. And, “finals-schminals.” I want to yank out my hair all of December, anyway. I would much rather know I’ll be done a day earlier and receive a week off because of it than spread my finals out one more day and have a continuous semester of school.

A case for those who work: having this break could mean a week of full time hours – or even part-time.  That would get a couple dollars in your pocket, and who doesn’t want that!

I will admit I have a procrastination problem, so, a week off surely won’t be aiding my recovery in that. But for my final argument, what a break off school in the fall semester will do is be giving my procrastination a break as well. I instead will have full days to accomplish things; full days that I didn’t have before to clean my house, read my textbooks, lay in bed, play Call of Duty, drink beer. The latter three will probably be the reality so maybe this isn’t a good plea.

Regardless, I just don’t see a problem with a break in the fall semester. None of the cons outweigh the pros. And, Michael, you will not convince me that it won’t make a difference to my sanity. Having the chance to travel in the fall over trying to beat Mother Nature in the winter is the best argument I can give.

I was dealing with delayed flights from Florida this year, my attempt to go visit a best friend in Montana the year prior were cancelled due to nasty weather, and my chance to watch the Blue Jays in spring training the winter break before. . .well nothing wrong happened with that.

But those memories and possibilities to take time off from school all prove that we need time in the fall to be human beings and not just students.

 

CONTRA – Michael Chmielewski – Editor-in-Chief

Before full-throatily supporting Paige’s stance on a fall reading week, as our U of S counterparts are getting, please consider some of the following oppositional points. With pride, I’ve noticed that I’m always the contrarian in these debates.

Having a reading week during the fall would be an undesirable mistake, and in fact, I don’t even want one during February.

Firstly, reading week does not help with homework whatsoever. In fact, it always feels like there’s more to do. Did any of your friends, when you texted them “how’s your break,” tell you “it doesn’t feel like much of a break?” Probably. Maybe you even said it. If it feels like there’s more to do, that’s because there is. Professors anchor their semesters around the break. Lots of midterms, projects, and exams are focused around reading week, which gives rise to more work. The rationale is that because they have days off, students can handle more work. Also, being students, we inevitably procrastinate most things, and reading week provides a perfect excuse: “Look! There’s a week with no school in the not-so-distant future so I’ll leave whatever assignment for then.

Workload aside, for those who go on vacation, that’s no reason to remind everyone else again that we’re not rich enough travel during the break (too many people around here with tans last week). That’s no justification for a second reading week, because only a minority can afford to jet off for a week.

A totally random week off also disrupts rhythm. Although I studied as much as I could during the break, the week after was the busiest of the semester so far. Why? Because I was thrown off of my rhythm. I didn’t have my weekly and daily grind. Let’s hope that that sort of rude disruption isn’t forced upon students in the fall semester.

The real issue to tackle with reading week is suicide. Reading week in Canada was meant originally as a tool of suicide prevention. It’s a great idea to do anything possible to prevent suicide: we’ve all been affected by it. That being said, reading week has morphed into something else, and does not really help reduce stress because of semester design and workload in general, especially if it is expected that students do more work during their week “off.” That seems to defeat the purpose of stress reduction. Also, if suicide is so prevalent amongst students, perhaps we should take actions that actually work and reconsider the extremely stressful student life. This, I am all for.

Also, without a reading week, the semester wouldn’t be as long. It would be nice to finish sooner, but instead of having a week off, spread the seven days off throughout the semester as long weekends.

Overall, a second reading week is a terrible idea because it does nothing that it would be advertised to do, and would inherit all the problems of the February break (Although, supporting a fall reading week would probably be a good way to get elected for an URSU executive. Just a thought.).

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