We need more reading days

Ever since we left for Thanksgiving break, we all knew finals season was rapidly approaching, and the reality of studying and writing numerous papers in a short amount of time slowly creeped up on us. The grueling, coffee-chugging, page-turning, tiring time is upon us, and the major consensus among students on our campus is that we need more time to prepare. There is an extremely quick turnaround time from the end of Thanksgiving break to the beginning of finals, and to make matter worse, we only have one reading day.

UM’s Fall 2019 schedule was particularly complex this semester. Syllabi and test dates had to be changed because Thanksgiving came later in the month, and students have been complaining about having to study and catch up on assignments over Thanksgiving break. During a time when students should be relaxing, connecting with family and recharging, we had to be preparing for the last two days of classes and final exams. It is especially insensitive to those students who live out of state who had to deal with the stress of traveling back and forth. If you have ever been to the Miami International Airport, you know how exhausting traveling can be.

It’s impossible for us to decompress and get ready for all these tasks in just one day, but this is what the school is asking us to do. This is why we are calling on the school and administration to extend our reading days. In the past, we were given three full days, but since 2013, they have been cut down.

We are a school that takes our academics very seriously, and we know that finals week is an important but stressful time. Reading days are extremely helpful in allowing students to decompress from class life and get into the clear headspace needed for finals. What administrators don’t think about is how important reading days are to our mental health.

Finals week can bring a lot of anxiety and stress into students’ life. The feeling of being extremely overwhelmed or underprepared can negatively impact student performance. Not only will more reading days help us study and retain more information, but it will be a step forward in the fight for improved mental health on campus.

More reading days will be a huge relief, not just for students but for professors who need time to catch up on grading assignments. This is something our students need, and it shouldn’t be a huge task for the school. Due to our students’ caliber, we demand it. Students at the University of Florida get two reading days, and students at Yale get slightly less than a week. Why are we not treated the same as these students? Next semester, we absolutely need more reading days.

Featured image source: www.flickr.com, @StevenS