As we all know, this is the first year that the University of Winnipeg (U of W) has a reading week in the fall. This implementation is part of an overall push for better mental health on campus (and part of a national movement to set up mental health frameworks on campuses). Here's what I love about it.
1. The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) asked the U of W to implement it in the name of mental health, and then it actually happened.
As I’m sure any super lefty, hyper-involved activist on campus will tell you, the demands of the students aren’t always met. Certain barriers, especially budgeting concerns, are known to impede changes proposed by student bodies. I am, however, glad that mental health has been made a priority with the addition of counsellors and with this new fall reading week. Students all across the university, I assure you, are breathing a de-stressing sigh of relief.
2. Non-Winnipeggers can make their trip back home to see their family.
You didn’t even think of the out-of-town kids who move to the city for school, did you? No, you only think about yourself and the bus routes you’ve been taking to get downtown for years. For shame! Having more than just three days to absorb family time may mean more homesick farm kids make it home to see Ma and Pa for Thanksgiving this year. That means there will be fewer first-years pallid from Kraft Dinner-induced malnutrition wandering Manitoba Hall. And that’s a win for everybody.
3. I can catch up on all the classes I’ve skipped.
Oh, don’t act all high and mighty. I know you’ve done it. You’ve probably even skipped classes to catch up on the classes you’ve skipped.
4. Fall reading week offers a renewal for the “I’m going to do all my readings!” promise.
“I’m going to do all my readings after fall reading week,” I say as Netflix asks “Are you still there?” and I click “continue watching.” I definitely won’t skip any of those always short and never dry readings for the latter half of the semester. Not a chance.
5. I can actually, you know, have fun and go do stuff.
“Hey, do you want to get lunch?” “Want to see a show tonight?” “Do you want to leave your apartment for more than two hours without feeling like you should be at home reading about the intricacies of Islamic law for your seminar course?” Yes, yes and, oh my word, yes.
6. I can enjoy the Great Outdoors before it’s an icy, hellish land that makes me question why I live in a place that clearly is not fit for human habitation for half the year.
According to CurrentResults.com, Winnipeg has an average of 193 days per year where the temperature is below zero. That’s 54 per cent of the year. Fifty-four per cent. I do like skating on the river and being able to validate my identity as a resilient Winnipegger, I really do. But I also like the offerings of milder weather, which include: not being at risk of frostbite when my bus is late, being able to drive my car without vigorously scraping ice off of its windshield and being able to openly not care about the Winnipeg Jets. I’ve only got a few weeks left of those simple pleasures.
7. This is a legitimate opportunity to give myself an emotional and mental break.
As it is for all of us. Have a night in. Have a night out. Revel in the break from your studies. Stay in your pajamas until noon watching Duck Tales. Self-care is important, and this is your chance. I know I’m going to enjoy every minute of it, and I hope you do, too.