Fall reading weeks on the rise

Time off in November to help students relieve stress


Ryerson University is the latest to approve an additional reading week to take place in the fall. On Wednesday, Ryerson’s senate voted to shorten the fall semester from 13 weeks to 12 beginning in 2012.

At the University of Alberta, the students’ union will be polling students in an upcoming referendum to gauge support for starting the semester a week earlier, to compensate for the break. The purpose of the break is to give students the opportunity to relieve stress. “Our student counselling services had last year the highest usage numbers in November so in recognizing that February winter reading weeks are established to deal with the mental health there, November seemed like another time to take a look at,” says Nick Dehod, University of Alberta’s student president.

Several universities have implemented fall breaks in recent years, including the University of Ottawa, Trent University and the University of Toronto. Wilfrid Laurier University is examining the idea and the University of Calgary has had a fall break for years.

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Fall reading weeks on the rise

  1. What many schools do not understand when implementing the fall reading week is that many professors opt to put their midterms after the reading week. So this doenst relieve any stress at all for students. If schools are going to implement a fall (and even for the spring reading week) all courses should have midterms before the break. Nothing is more stressful than a student who plans a trip during the break and is forced to study during it. Especially since exam policy makes it impossible for a student to recieve a deffered exam because they are going on vacation. So as thankful as we are for a week of no class, less stressed, not so much.

    • The break should not be about ‘going on vacation” but rather collecting your thoughts, spending time studying, researching, revising notes or preparing for mid-terms. All this can be done without the pressure of attending classes for the break period. Why students feel that the breaks are just about going on vacation (whatever happened to the starving student argument) is beyond me.

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