Students feel that reading week is necessary in order for them to stay sane and focused at school.

“I feel that if there was no reading week there would be a lot more stress,” said Jessica Mensinga, a second year student at Laurier.

Wilfrid Laurier University is doing a three-year trial run of having a fall reading week to see if students use the week wisely and to see if stress and anxiety among students decrease.

Some feel that they do experience stress, and that reading week is a nice way to catch up on overdue homework and relax with family and friends.

“I turn to my family and friends [when stressed out],” said Mensinga.

“Friends definitely help me out the most, as well as the occasional family member such as a close cousin. I usually just try to relax in my room with some sort of distracting activity like knitting, colouring, reading or watching a movie or TV show,” Hayley Goossen, a second year student, wrote in an email.

“It is a much-needed break for students to focus on themselves and their mental and physical health, rather than worrying about school work and everything that needs to get done,” wrote Goossen.

Mental health is the main focus of reading week, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the time to study and de-stress. “A lot of students don’t go home until Thanksgiving, and reading week is a time for them to get caught up on readings and have a refresher before heading back to midterms,” said Mensinga.

University is a stressful time for most, but maybe more so for students who move away from home, some say.

“I think it’s more beneficial for people who live further away because they usually don’t get to go home. Where I live is closer, so it’s not as crucial because I can see my family more. For those who live far away it’s a chance for them to head home. They may be more stressed and depressed about being away from home,” explained Mensinga.

Mensinga and Goossen both felt that this reading week is much needed, well placed and is used well.

Goossen wrote, “More might make students become too reliant on breaks and may result in laziness. It would be harder to settle back into the swing of school work and everything that comes with it. Fewer might create more stress and would allow it to keep building up inside the student. That could result in very serious anxiety and even thoughts of taking their own life.”

Students feel that the week is beneficial for mental health and also helps them stay focused for the remainder of the term.