By Peter Ash
Ryerson University is reviewing exam policies to potentially introduce a school-wide study day, said president Mohamed Lachemi.
The study day would be one extra day in between a students’ last day of classes and the first day of exams.
“We understand that this is important to students,” Lachemi said. “And we’ll do whatever it takes to help ease the burden off our students.”
A potential challenge for implementing a study day would be the impact on exam schedules and space constraints, he said.
The university “can’t make any promises,” said Lachemi. He said the review is in process and they hope to provide more information by the end of the academic year.
A motion was passed by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) to lobby the university for a study day during their November semi-annual general meeting.
The study day would “create a supportive environment for student mental health,” the motion read.
“I think testing should reflect your capability”
When The Eyeopener initially asked former RSU president Ram Ganesh about the motion, he didn’t even know it was passed.
Current RSU president Maklane deWever noted the importance of students having enough time to prepare for an exam.
“It’s just better for students if they can focus on their exams and go in knowing [their material], rather than just it being that if you don’t know everything beforehand you’re screwed,” deWever said. “I think testing should reflect your capability and not just your ability on that specific date and time.”
Other schools have also started to incorporate study days into their academic calendar. Both the University of Toronto and York University have a fall study day and a winter study day, providing all students with a day off before the start of the general examination period.
Discussions for a potential study day at Ryerson will be “brought up with the university”, according to new RSU vice-president education Iyvan Chandran. However, this isn’t the only thing that the union is looking to incorporate.
“I am working towards the ability to push away one exam per year, without the need of a medical [note],” Chandran said.
Chandran added that if students need to “lie and pay money for a sick note” they aren’t prepared or “in the right state of mind” for their upcoming exam.
He said this also applies to those who are legitimately sick, as they could sometimes get “upset if they must get a medical note.”
“This reduces costs for faculty, as they will not need to verify and store a lot of medicinal notes as less [notes] will be submitted,” he said.
Duy Luong, a second-year electrical engineering student, said that study days at Ryerson would be helpful.
“If you had one more day to study…it would be relaxing,” Luong said. “Sometimes, we have three mid-terms in a span of a week and it’s [exhausting], so it makes it really difficult to prepare for them.”
He said in his two years at the school, he’s had an average of four to five exams a semester. For him, the workload while trying to build a social life simply “can’t happen.”
“Aren’t weekends study days?”
Will Flood, a third-year theatre student, also feels like a study day would help dramatically.
“I have no time with my theatre schedule, with [daily] rehearsal and Saturday rehearsal as well,” Flood said. “So if I had a study day, I would get a chance to get more [school] work done.”
Knowing that it’s hard to maintain a strong social life with his schedule, Flood said that he tries to keep a steady mindset heading into his weekly tasks.
“You just gotta tell yourself you’re going to do it. I can see so many people crumbling under pressure and their insecurities and I’m just fortunate enough to put myself up and believe in myself.”
However, some students think there needs to be a different approach.
“Aren’t weekends study days?” asked second-year theatre student Ivy Watson. “I think that that’s a cop-out. Why not address the real issue—which is we’re demanding too much from our students—not giving them an extra day.”