During reading period and the week before final exams, students often find themselves overwhelmed with schoolwork. They’re mentally overloaded, whether from studying for exams or finishing assignments such as papers, projects or lab reports.
Some professors have exams on the last days of class instead, but this usually gives students even less time to prepare. They often express concerns about problems like these even at colleges such as Amherst, where students have strong relationships with professors.
Reading period is meant as a buffer between classes and finals. It should be time for students to regroup and prepare for the semester’s hardest tests and papers. Yet the length of the reading period is currently insufficient, both in how much comfort it gives students and how much work they can do in that time. This stress and hurrying during finals is counterproductive and detrimental to students’ health and morale.
After fall semester finals, there is winter break. Students usually use this time to catch up on sleep, visit family and friends, watch movies in theatres, etc.
Some students also may find themselves bored, since they are used to being occupied by schoolwork. I remember being stuck in traffic for about an hour during December break my freshman year. I wondered to myself “Why couldn’t I have this block of time to study for an exam?”
Dr. Viktor Frankl discusses these states of boredom and business in his famed book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He explains the concept of Sunday Neurosis, a form of depression resulting from an awareness in some people of the emptiness of their lives once the working week is over.
This existential vacuum is characterized by the subjective state of boredom, apathy and emptiness.
People sometimes complain of a void and a vague discontent when the busy week is over. It is important to be mindful of such states of the mind for one’s well-being.