The Dingbat: Confused students have been observing fall reading break for years

"I don't usually read the syllabus until a project is coming up," said Jacobson. File Iyanu Owolab

When the news broke that there would be a fall reading break for the 2021/22 academic year, Leonard Jacobson was more confused than ever.

Jacobson, a fourth-year history major, has been going home to visit his family every October during what he thought was fall reading break.

“Every year I took a week off in October. I was following the same schedule as my friends at the University of Toronto, because I just figured everyone else had it too,” said Jacobson. “Why didn’t we have one, anyway?”

The issue of a fall reading break has been a very heated debate for years, and seemingly everyone on campus has an opinion on it. But for some, this conversation hasn’t come up at all.

“I hardly talk to anyone. How the hell was I supposed to know this wasn’t a thing? I figured we already had a fall reading break and went to visit my family every October like everyone else does,” said one student, who requested anonymity so as to not attract attention to their inattentiveness.

Some students had doubts, but went with their intuition. “I considered checking the academic calendar just to be sure, but I figured my gut feeling was right. I still had a good time taking a week off class,” said Judy Smith, a third-year political science major.

Psychology professor Jennifer Thomas has also been skipping a week for years, but not out of ignorance. “I let everyone take a week off in October because I can’t stand seeing them for so many weeks in a row. We all need a week off once in a while, you know? Even professors do.” Thomas also said that it’s “about fucking time” that a real one happened.

As for the signs that something was amiss, most students interviewed by The Ubyssey didn’t see the signs that they had missed class until much later.

Jacobson had gotten “glad to have you back” as a common greeting when arriving to class after this self-declared break, which had always confused him until now. “I just assumed they missed me, it never occurred to me that this was because I had missed an entire week of class.”

Jacobson stated he had never considered looking at the syllabus and considering why that specific week in October had class topics listed. “I don’t usually read the syllabus until a project is coming up,” he said.

Smith always wondered why it felt like everyone was talking about something she hadn’t read when she came back from reading break. “I figured maybe I was just jet-lagged. I fly home from Nova Scotia on the Sunday and go back to class on Monday, so it makes sense.”

Going forward, Jacobson is looking forward to enjoying an actual reading break. “It’s so silly that I didn’t realize this for years. I hope my average gets higher than my usual 65 per cent.”