Time For A Vacation

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 12, 2009 Ed Cartoon

Ah Reading Week. A time to catch up on the seemingly insurmountable workload and maybe if you are lucky, take in a little sun somewhere south of the border. The placement of this year’s week off comes a little earlier than Western students are used to, right smack in the middle of second term â€" six weeks in, with six weeks left when we get back.

While it is tough to find anything wrong with a week off school, the earlier break amplifies a few concerns many students voice each year â€" primarily, the lack of study days preceding the final exam period in April. Historically, the university has only offered up a single study day, while other schools offer their students as many as four.

Also, the size of Western’s student population, the number of courses offered and the fact we have a Reading Week all factor into the exam schedule extending to the end of the month, creating havoc for renters needing to vacate by April 30.

At this juncture, students have to decide what’s more important to them and ultimately, what’s of greater benefit: a Reading Week in the middle of second term or a few extra study days and an earlier end to the exam schedule?

The fact most schools â€" other than Trent University â€" do not have a slack week in first term may lend credence to the view that we could all do without a Reading Week and compensate through extra study days.

While on the surface this may seem a logical thought, the reality is first term generally brings with it a greater enthusiasm for school as well as the Thanksgiving holiday, conveniently placed near the middle of the term. Considering this, the necessity of a first term Reading Week may not be as great as some think.

While a reasonable conciliation might be to add another day off to the Thanksgiving weekend, many students take it upon themselves to extend weekends, such as Thanksgiving, by missing a class or two.

As university students, we have a responsibility to take our academic obligations seriously and a big part of that is planning. The administration has historically provided ample notice of the exam schedule and every year, we receive one study day â€" no more, no less. When given such notice it should not be too much to ask to plan and prepare accordingly. If those terms are too steep for some students, maybe a re-evaluation of their ability to succeed at the university level is necessary.

Whether it’s treated this way or not, the purpose of Reading Week is to give students a chance to catch up on their work without the burden of going to classes. For some, that means working hard, for others, it means completely un-plugging from the rigours of academia.

Whatever your method, we hope you enjoy your time off.

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