School starting after Labour Day interfering with breaks
Due to the addition of fall reading week and a late Labour Day, Wilfrid Laurier University’s fall exam schedule will be pushed until December 23. With the late start of the new school year, the holiday break has been cut down to a 11-day grace-period between first and second semesters. Why is this a problem?
The university prides itself on advocating for proper mental health initiatives and putting the students first, however the clustered fall semester brings a lot of issues.
Firstly, reading week comes only four weeks into the semester — not halfway — and does not really provide a break for students who will be immersed in midterms and papers for the next eight weeks after.
Moreover, the exam schedule going until December 23 is not convenient or healthy for students. Some may not be able to find a way home until December 24 and may put a burden in their family’s holiday plans.
And what’s worse is that students will get only 11 days between exams and the beginning of the winter term. We believe in the importance of a substantial break when transitioning into the next semester. It entails a period of recovery that allows time to relax, caters to those celebrating certain holidays and permits students to reconnect with their family after being turned into unavailable study drones for the diligent mission of final exams. There is no room to recharge.
Other universities, such as McMaster, recognized the lateness of Labour Day and started their fall term earlier than the holiday to fit the 60 school days required. Laurier should have followed this lead and taken into consideration the shortened gap between Labour Day and the holiday season.
Mental health is a campus-wide issue for countless universities. There is an essential recovery time for students to catch up on content, reside back at their childhood homes or momentarily forget about the stresses of academics.
This period is essential for maintaining a positive attitude, a healthy body and ambitious mind for the entire year.
Students need a period of time that allows them to reflect on their performance — not just their performance in the classroom, but overall execution of their university career. Whether it’s assessing their eating habits and deciding if they should be turning to healthier options, scheduling more time in the gym or prioritizing some time to socialize with friends and family, a long and substantial break is required to get students back on track and to reinforce the primary focuses of their lives.