Financial hazards of Saturday exams
Re: The exam schedule
To the Editor:
I am having a major problem with my Saturday exams. It is not because Saturday night is supposed to be for social events. It is not because when I signed up for university I never expected to have to come in on a weekend, though both of those are true. My problem is actually something that everyone should find legitimate.
With the rising cost of tuition, there is hardly a student at the university who doesn't have to get a part-time job to cover the cost. The catch with part-time jobs is that they are usually weekends only.
When I have a Saturday night exam, it means that I lose my work that weekend. I might not mind if it only happened once. I might not mind if it only happened in first year. But the fact is this year, I have three Saturday nights in a row which have scheduled exams. The university has effectively forced me to take a three week unpaid vacation.
I can't say that I enjoy this reduction in income, but university is more important than work so I am willing to accept it in the short term. Unfortunately, it may not be short term.
I can tell that my employer is very disappointed in me for asking for the time off. He understands that I have exams that I have to attend, but he is running a business and needs employees he can depend on. If he can't rely on me to be available, he might have to let me go, in favour of someone else.
I am fairly new at my job, having earned it during the last few weeks of summer and have not yet completed my three-month probation. Being terminated without notice is a very real concern right now and being forced by the university to take three weeks off makes it a definite possibility.
The university is raising tuition levels. While I may not enjoy this change, I must accept it. Accompanying this, there has to be some understanding from the university. The university must accommodate the students' need for part-time employment.
Solutions to alleviate weekend exams could include holding evening exams, scheduling a suspension of classes for a mid-term exam week or a combination of both.
The student voice was raised in support of O-week and met with success. While O-week is just one week and does not affect your financial ability to go to university, weekend exams could have a year-long impact.
If enough people out there have the same problem that I do with weekend exams, we could raise the same voice for this issue. The excuse that it has always been this way should not be accepted. I ask anyone who is losing their hours, their job or simply agrees with me to please write a letter to The Gazette or talk to your student rep.