Reading days offered forgo students’ needs

Students are seen working in the Homer Babbidge Library on UConn's Storrs campus. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

With the dreaded finals week fast approaching, gripes of the ill-conceived placement of the Reading Day are resurrected among the student body. For the fall semester, students are given Sunday and Thursday reading days, while spring semester offers Sunday as the only option.

The reasoning is that the semester ends on Saturday, allowing the administration to give the students Sunday as their first reading day. Following three days of exams, Thursday becomes the second reading before the final three days of exams but this is exclusively administered for the fall semester.

Many students claim that weekends should not be considered university allotted reading days as they have naturally served this purpose since the start of school. It is a cheap way of creating the allusion of magnanimity from the university while taking advantage of the students’ already frantic schedules of studying for multiple cumulative finals to be taken over the course of five days. 

While using a weekend day for a reading day is impractical, students have also taken issue with Thursday being used as the second fall reading day. The reasoning behind having a midweek reading day is sound. However, one might question the administration’s method of determining the midweek day which will be set aside for an official reading day.

An analysis of when the most exams occur is needed to provide a more comprehensive look at finals week. Most students, across all disciplines, have their finals in the beginning of the week, effectively before Thursday. Saturday finals are mainly allotted to those taking accounting courses, with a handful reserved for other disciplines, such as anthropology. Therefore, the reading day provided by the university is useless for those who have taken up to five finals between Monday and Wednesday. 

Other colleges, such as Harvard University, offer their students a full reading week, without classes, before finals week. However, that may strain UConn’s budget further with a week’s worth of staffing salaries and general upkeep of the university in order for the students to use their time wisely and study.

Perhaps establishing two weekdays as reading days would be more conducive to relieving the stress on students. A reserved day at the beginning of the week and another during the middle of the week would prove beneficial during the fall and spring. The current system is questionable in terms of overall utility for the student body. Though the timing of the second fall reading day is impractical, the complete lack of weekday reading days during the spring semester further limits the ability for students to adequately prepare for final exams.