From Feb. 17 to Feb.21, classes at Concordia are suspended for a recess called ‘reading week.’ At some institutions reading week is known as spring break, a time when students get a break from their hectic schedules. Here, at Concordia, however, we want no confusion: reading week is not a vacation.
The purpose of reading week is inherent in the title, it’s time to read, or in other words, study, write essays, and watch Americans go topless on TV, while you recite the periodic table. The expectation is that students will use this week off from classes to do coursework and assignments, not go on vacation.
Admittedly, you have more time to do these things without having to go to class, but why are we given this time to study in the spring but not in the fall?
At Queen’s University, for example, they have a ‘fall term pre-examination study period’ that usually takes place from the end of November to early December. At Ottawa University, they have a fall reading week at the end of October.
Which begs the question, what is the point of reading week? If the university thinks we need more study time then why not give us a fall reading week? If the university thinks students need a chance to recuperate before tackling the second part of the winter semester then why do teachers assign work that is to be handed in when classes resume? Why do most midterms follow closely on the heels of reading week?
It seems completely illogical to have a reading week in the winter but not in the fall when both semester are the same length. Furthermore, why can’t students at Concordia have a spring break? Other schools do it, how else would you explain the overcrowded Florida beaches? Those fraternity boys are definitely holding beer cans, not textbooks.
If Concordia wants to give students a break from classes so they can catch up on coursework and assignments then they need to be consistent and give students a reading week in the fall as well. If, however, Concordia wants to give its students a much-deserved break, then they need to instruct professors to push back assignment due dates and midterms until at least a week after reading week.