I’m Grace, a fourth-year Creative Industries student here at Ryerson. Like many students attending Ryerson, I’m currently enjoying fall reading week. There are a handful of benefits to having a fall reading week, and in honour of World Mental Health Day, I will be exploring a few of them today.
While many Canadian university students continue to lobby for the chance to have a fall reading week at their respective schools, Ryerson students are well accustomed to the week-long break which has been granted to us each October since 2011. The concept of a fall reading week has been a hot topic throughout the Canadian post-secondary sector over the last decade, with many benefits being presented for both the students and institutions themselves.
Benefit #1: Breathing Room
The most evident benefit for students is that these breaks give us a chance to breathe. Canadian universities are continuing to increase efforts to help students with their mental health—with fall reading week being one of the biggest steps in that direction. In 2016, The Canadian Mental Health Association stated suicide as the second leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds. Ryerson is a leader in fighting against this issue by allowing students the time to focus on themselves and their needs in the fall semester, as well as the winter semester. By doing so, students return to class feeling relaxed and equipped.
Benefit #2: (Re)connection
The fall reading week also enables students to travel and visit family. Homesickness is a major contributor to the feelings of anxiety that many students experience, namely younger first-year students and international students. Ryerson’s reading week also has the built-in advantage of being attached to the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, which allows many the chance to be home for the holiday and stay longer than just a few short days. Students with an affinity for exploring can also take advantage of our fall reading week as a chance to squeeze in a trip during the more affordable off-season for traveling!
Benefit #3: Midterm Prep Time
The fall reading week eases anxiety and allows students to cruise into midterm season feeling as prepared as possible. For students with a lineup of midterms and projects due after the break ends, the fall reading week gives them a chance to hunker down and study without the need to attend classes or be on campus. Teaching faculty benefits here, too, since they are able to catch up on marking and lesson planning during the class break.
Ryerson students are at an advantage for having a break that is early, long, and convenient. In terms of addressing students needs, it’s clear to see that the fall reading week is a progressive step forward. To learn more about how Ryerson is currently supporting students’ mental wellbeing, visit our website.