KPU needs reading break in the fall

Conversations about KPU having a reading break in the fall semester has been a back-burner issue for over a decade

Conversations around mental health have become louder in the pandemic, which is why KPU needs a fall reading break.

It might not be coincident that reading week falls in the same week as family day. Reading week is not limited to having a week off from school, and can be spent picking up on abandoned hobbies or catching up with family and friends. A wisely spent reading week could help students plan for a healthy semester.

The Ubyssey revealed the University of British Columbia’s history of reading break, recognizing that while the “paper’s records are not necessarily a perfect measure,” they “offer stories on how students have shaped the school calendar in the past.”

In the 1980s, when universities hadn’t set up their online portal for course registrations, students were given a whole week, where they would go to different buildings and walk through different departments to streamline their choice of courses.

When universities adapted the registration process online, students pinned hope for a week-long break, but instead, the university extended the December exam period to adjust the semester’s length.

Queen’s University encourages students to put the “read” in the reading week. “Reading Week is a short but much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of the busy winter term. So go ahead and relax a little, spend time with family, catch up with friends and get up to date with those TV shows calling your name, because if you’re able to use your time wisely, you can accomplish all that and get some reading done,” wrote Cristina Valeri, an English major student at Queen’s University.

“The idea of a fall reading break is something that we have had considered for a very long time. I feel that by putting the full weight of the AMS behind seeing that through more quickly will be a huge benefit to all students in terms of not just their GPA, but their mental health and their wellness,” wrote the then-presidential candidate of UBC.

A journal by Simon Fraser University highlights the survey and the results of frequency analyses, which revealed “general satisfaction with the fall break: in a forced choice question asking whether the fall break was “a good thing” for them, 80% of respondents indicated the affirmative and only 20% of respondents indicated the negative. Students were also asked to assess the effect of the fall break on their stress levels over the entire fall semester. The majority (69%) of respondents indicated that the fall break decreased stress.”

I like to use my reading week to de-stress and warm up my mind and soul for the upcoming midterms. It is a time period that gives me a much-needed break to focus on myself. I would often indulge in a self-care ritual by Lisa Flanagan. I like to read a soothing book or finish a feel-good series. During the weekend, I would revise my lecture notes, look ahead to my week, and study for midterms. Even though the spring semester does give me a breather, the fall semester gets hard on me too, and it would be nice to have the same peace of mind.

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