Reading week is not just a time for relaxing, we should all know that (hopefully) by this point. It’s a time that many students use to get caught up on school work, and buy themselves some time later in the semester by starting assignments that are due after the break. Or at least it’s supposed to be used that way. It can also be used to relax, see your family and friends, or just generally accomplish things in your personal life that you might have put off due to school (like seeing Black Panther).
For these reasons, professors shouldn’t have assignments due over reading week, because this takes away a student’s choice in prioritizing how they want to spend their break. Having assignments due over reading week doesn’t reward you down the road, because you’re just treading water in the moment.
Further, while we all know that reading week is supposed to be spent doing work, it’s also an excellent opportunity to catch up on sleep, Netflix, and gain some semblance of control over your life. Even if students don’t use the time off to do work, they are still making the choice to prioritize other aspects of their life, as well as take a mental break from the stress of school and classes. Having to work on an assignment due specifically over reading week removes that choice, as you have to spend that much needed time off trying to meet a deadline.
These assignments force you to do school work without saving you any time in the future.
Assignments over reading week are pointless because students are already studying over the break. Having a due date during our week off forces students to prioritize a single class and a single project over all the other work, both academic and personal, that they may have hoping to finish during that time.
This may sound like childish complaining, since I would have spent the time working on assignments anyway, so why should it matter that I spent it working on an assignment? But it’s the lack of choice that matters. I had to spend a significant amount of time during my week working on a single assignment; I couldn’t choose to work on other ones instead. When for so much of the year we have to be places and things to do, those moments of choice should be held closely.
This isn’t a complaint about assignments in general, or even due dates that are around reading week. Students know that assignments are important, and that there usually isn’t a lot of room for debate around deadlines. But while assignments are important, it doesn’t mean that the well-being of students can’t be taken into consideration when creating assignment deadlines.