Some call it a vacation, some call it hibernation, and others call it four days in the library. Most students love it, yet it remains controversial among some faculty and administration members. What is it? It’s reading period, that break in each term designed to give students a chance to study for midterms. Although it is not always used exclusively for studying, reading period is essential to ease the pressure of the fast-paced ten-week term system. Many Lawrentians begin to feel the stress of midterms around third week, and the feeling only builds as the term races on. By fourth or fifth week, commitments are starting to get significant and assignments are piling up. Seniors have graduate school to think about, which involves entrance exams, school visits, and time-consuming application materials. Reading period provides the only window in the term for students to step back, take a breath, and catch up. Without it, many would be inclined to skip classes to work on assignments and would be much more prone to sleep deprivation and stress-related health problems. Reading period doesn’t just benefit students, however. Faculty members also feel the pressure of writing and correcting exams, scheduling advising appointments, and finding time to do their own research and publication. In particular, it gives new and younger faculty a chance to adjust to the rigor of Lawrence’s trimester system. Ultimately, it is an individual’s choice how he or she will use the midterm break; there may very well be little or no studying involved. It is nevertheless clear that reading period is essential to upholding the academic success, high level of commitment, and general wellbeing of the Lawrence community.