Reading week has become a staple among many colleges and universities across the country.
It’s an opportunity for students to step back from their hectic school schedules and recharge or catch up on coursework. For many students, this break is bi-annual, commencing in both the fall and winter semesters, and ranging anywhere from two days to an entire week. Unfortunately, not all schools get a Fall Reading Break, with Humber College only recently getting one (as of October). Guelph-Humber has yet to announce a similar initiative.
We wanted to hear some student perspectives over this hotly debated topic before our survey launches, so we approached several Guelph-Humber students to ask their opinions.
Anna, Justice Studies: “I believe a fall reading break is important, because students don’t just get stressed out in the winter but also in the fall, so we need a break time to recuperate.”
Morad, Justice Studies Program: “I think its good to have a reading break because you can hang out with friends from other universities that have fall reading breaks.”
Shanette, Early Childhood Education: “Students have to juggle work and school at the same time. The semester can be very overwhelming and I think the break is something that is needed and helps them deal with stress.”
Dilshan, Bachelor of Business Administration: “I don’t mind having a reading week for the fall semester, but for me personally, [a reading break in the fall] is not necessary. After finishing our final exams, we have a very long winter break, like 3-4 weeks, which everyone really enjoys. I personally feel that a fall reading week may reduce our Christmas break.”
It’s uncertain if Guelph-Humber will establish a Fall Study Break anytime soon. However, to understand Guelph-Humber’s current stance on the issue, we spoke to Maja Jocson, VP Student Affairs-Guelph-Humber. When asked why Guelph-Humber was taking so long to institute a Fall Reading Break, Maja explained that GH sits on the University of Guelph’s senate -”the biggest in Canada, comprised of 100+ people – which means that any decisions made at Guelph-Humber must go through the Guelph senate. However, prior to reaching the senate, it must go through a series of committees. Once it reaches the senate, the case must be presented and then voted on by the senators.
“So when you think about it, the reason it takes so long is because it has to go through so many avenues, and you still aren’t sure when it goes to senate,” says Maja.
Currently, Maja is preparing her case for the senate. Thus far, she has completed her research on the positives and negatives of both having and not having a Fall Reading Break. Next, IGNITE will distribute a survey asking students what they would like to do, based on the research completed. Her biggest concern is having students say yes without having the facts.
“Obviously if you ask students if they want a break, almost everyone is going to say yes, but they may not know the implications of having a break. So by doing the research, at least they are knowledgeable first, before they vote.”
This month, Guelph-Humber students will have the opportunity to voice their opinion’s through an online survey taking place between February 11th – 18th! Prior to this, there will be a student-led discussion about the pros and cons of having a Fall Reading Break, and will take place in GH424 between 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Tuesday February 8th and will also be streamed live on IGNITE’s Facebook page.
As for how long it will take to get this break, Maja says, “If majority of students at Guelph-Humber, after this vote, say they want to have it, I would say maybe in 2-3 years.”
Until then, GH students can anticipate some relaxation with their upcoming spring study break!
If you have any questions about this debate please contact Maja Jocson, VP Student Affairs: Guelph-Humber at firstname.lastname@example.org
*These interviews have been edited for length and clarity