Letter to the Editor

Sam Lewin

  As a result of Lawrence’s rigorous trimester-based calendar, finals reading period is both a nice break and an academic necessity. We need a finals reading period because we don’t have enough time to prepare for finals during ninth and tenth weeks when we’re focused on completing lengthy problem sets, term papers and other comprehensive assignments.

In previous years we have had at least three days for finals reading period, usually a Friday and the weekend. These three-day reading periods were fairly stressful, but they provided for adequate finals preparation time.

Last term, however, we only had 24 hours on Thursday to study for exams that could potentially begin at 8 a.m. on Friday. This one reading day was extremely frustrating and stressful.

One day is simply not enough time to prepare for final exams. Consequently, a one-day reading period can inadvertently encourage cramming, all-nighters and other ineffective and unhealthy study habits — the very same habits that study advice fliers strongly discourage.

It would be nice if Lawrentians had enough time to consider such advice; obviously, staying up all night is not an effective studying technique.

Unfortunately, few Lawrentians can actually afford the luxury of non-hectic study schedules, especially when we have to spend all of ninth and tenth weeks attending class, performing in end-of-term concerts and completing final assignments, many of which are due during finals week or, should I say, finals weekend.

I’m sure the faculty calendar task force had good reasons for adjusting our academic calendar, but skimping on reading period can have negative academic consequences. Indeed, it’s not surprising that many similar liberal arts colleges have finals reading periods that are at least three days long.

Thankfully, this term Lawrence has a three-day finals reading period including Memorial Day. I encourage the faculty calendar task force to continue to allow for multi-day reading periods because one day is not nearly enough study time.

– Sam Lewin