After classes end this semester, students will have an additional day to study for their final exams.
This year, reading period is scheduled to have one more day than it has had in the past two years, beginning Friday, Dec. 5, and ending Thursday, Dec. 11. The extension was announced in March after the Yale College Council asked the Calendar Committee to add a day to reading period. Students interviewed saw the change as quite positive and said that they are glad to have the extra time.
“I think a lot of people worry that students will waste the extra day, but even relaxing can be important,” Mitch Barrows ’16 said. “Mental health matters.”
In a survey of the student body administered by the YCC in November 2013, 81 percent of respondents said that a three-day reading period negatively affected their health and anxiety levels. The extended reading period was made with students’ health and well-being in mind, YCC Academics Director David Lawrence ’15 said.
“Although we haven’t seen a reading period with this length yet, we think everything is on track to achieve that,” he said.
Still, some students said they were unsatisfied by the new reading week.
Mujtaba Wani ’17 said that while the extra day is nice, it would not substantially impact his studying.
Other students interviewed were more enthusiastic about the change.
“It’s nice,” said Angeline Wang ’16. “It gives me more time to write papers.””
Though few complaints have been raised about this year’s schedule, future changes to the academic calendar remain under discussion. Next fall’s schedule is currently set to start winter break on Dec. 23, far later than usual.
YCC President Michael Herbert ’16 said that this “Christmas Eve debacle” would be addressed in a report due later this week.
“We would like to see the semester start one week earlier and end one week earlier, because it seems arbitrary that it always starts based on Labor Day,” Lawrence said. He also said that a lot of faculty have been supportive of starting a week earlier.
Though discussions towards this goal are in progress, no new decisions have been made.
Lawrence added that he hopes to avoid shortening reading period as a solution. “I don’t think [reading period] should be a bartering chip in solving calendar issues,” he said.
Two years ago, Yale College shortened reading period to three days from one week in order to make room for the newly-created October Recess. The move marked the first time the calendar had been changed in 40 years.