Today is the last day of classes. For most of us, that means completing daunting essays and major projects while we count down the fleeting hours until finals begin early Monday morning. The end of the semester rush is in full swing for UConn students. For many of us, there will not be a chance to breathe until the last essays and exams are submitted. This last stretch of the semester is painfully stressful for most students, which is why UConn must reconsider providing sufficient reading days for its students in future semesters.
Reading days are scheduled days set aside for students to study for finals and work on projects and papers. Last semester, UConn listed the Sunday before finals week and the Thursday during finals week to be designated reading days. While listing a weekend day as a reading day is neither helpful nor reasonable, the Thursday reading day, while possibly unhelpful for students, recognizes the need to provide students a break when they can spend the day dedicating themselves to their work.
Weekends are not reading days. As it is, weekends are normally set aside as days without classes or exams (though UConn does schedule Saturday exams at the end of finals week). Students deserve scheduled time without university obligations aside from weekends. Weekends are when students prepare for a regular school week, and this last stretch of the semester is anything but regular.
Last semester’s scheduled reading day was on a Thursday, which was far from ideal. While snow mixed up the schedule, many students’ schedules were set up so that a Thursday reading day fell after most or all of their finals. Any weekday set aside to study is better than the current situation for UConn students, but providing a reading day at the beginning of finals week would better alleviate students’ stress and provide conditions more suitable for students’ success.
UConn’s first priority should be providing conditions in which its students can thrive. Reading days at the beginning of finals week would be beneficial for both students’ work and their mental health. This is why UConn must rethink its use of reading days.