Reading Week or Reading Break?

Reading Break and Mental Health

By: Anna Bailey, reporter

Picture: Photo by John Weinhardt on Unsplash


Raise your hand if you have had this conversation:

“How was your reading break?”

“It wasn’t much of a break really; two days off isn’t enough to get everything done!”


Or maybe this one:

“How was your reading break?

“Great! Didn’t get any work done though.”

Unlike second semester, our first semester reading break is only two days off of classes. In contrast, students at other universities such as McMaster, get a whole week off.

Anna Buhrmann, a second year student at McMaster, commented, “Personally, I really appreciate having a seven-day block off because I can be productive with schoolwork while not having to feel stressed about immediate deadlines. Having a week at home to rest helps me to recover energy to return to campus with a fresh perspective.”

Arel Ortiz, a fourth year health science major at Redeemer, currently interning as a health services student assistant, feels that a two-day reading break makes it hard for students to go home or plan a restful break. On the other hand, she acknowledges that for some students, going home is a source of stress and so this is not an issue.

Hennie Schoon commented on the effect that reading break has on mental health for students. She pointed out that for international students, a longer reading break would be more time alone at school. However, she says that while the school certainly sees the potential merits of a longer break, the logistics of such are complicated.

Kim Lammers explained that since Redeemer began, semesters have always been 13 weeks long. The extra instruction was something that set Redeemer apart from other institutions. In the fall, a week-long reading break would cause exams to sometimes end after Christmas day. Going to a 12-week semester would mean condensing material and possibly adding to the stress for students. In addition, OSAP is based on the length of time that students are in school. It is possible that a shorter semester would mean changes in OSAP for students. Nonetheless, “this issue is on the radar of the Presidential council.”

Both the logistics and possible impact of a longer reading break at Redeemer are complicated. Some students may feel that a week would lag and they would rather have their work spread out. Others may wish they had more time to balance family and schoolwork. Either way, there will always be reading to procrastinate.