Maria Hernandez
Maria Hernandez
November 28, 2019

Students split on the timing of reading week

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

It seems reading week ended too soon as students are now back again, finishing schoolwork, getting ready for presentations, and studying for their last midterms. Reading week was introduced at the University of New Brunswick in the Fall of 2018.

Reading week was already part of the academic calendar at different universities around Canada, and it was created because there were many cases of mental illness among students. The intention of creating reading week was to allow students to visit their families and return to their academic studies with a clear mind, and to catch up with their studies, focus and dedicate time to understand their materials. Other students will even have the chance to relax and travel. Reading week will, in general, help students de-stress, especially first-year students.

The dates for reading week this year (November 11–15) were close to the exam season. Last year, the reading week took place just a week earlier than it was this year (November 5-9).  Some students and professors were commenting on the dates for reading week not being too convenient, so The Brunsiwckan asked the students what their opinions on reading week’s timing were. The Brunswickan set out a survey receiving the response of 79 UNB students.

According to the results we got from the survey, the reading week was indeed a time for students to refocus and work on some school work, and 94% of the participants thought reading week was indeed necessary during the fall term.

In terms of the work done during the week, 44% of students from the survey didn’t think they worked on their school work as much as they wanted to. Students who didn’t work on their school work made up only 13%, and students satisfied with the work they did made up 43%. 

However, regardless of how much work the students got done, they didn’t think they lost their time. There was a total of 70% saying they were productive during reading week, and only 30% said they weren’t. Despite having 46% of students who travelled, productivity was still high.  

When we asked students if they would rather have a reading week earlier in the term, 52% of the students said no, and 48% said yes. Students saying the reading week was too close to exam season made up 39%, students saying it wasn’t made up 18%, and students who agreed on the assigned dates for reading week made up 43%. Perhaps it depends on the different faculties students are in and the various workloads students have.

Most of the students who said the reading week was too close to exam season suggested they would rather have a reading week at the beginning of November or the end of October. Other students also suggested the middle of October, the middle of November or the week of Thanksgiving. 

Some students also suggested making it mandatory for all courses to schedule all their midterms before reading week.

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