Lobby the University to have a break between semester 1 exams and the start of semester 2

Michael Hickie submitted on 27/03/2024 09:00

Closed on 10/04/2024 09:00

This petition is calling for an all-student vote, requiring SUSU to lobby the university to amend the University calendar to have a break between Semester 1 exams and Semester 2, using the petition to help illustrate how important this is to students.


In short: Some students get as little as 2 days between their last exam and the start of semester 2. This massively contributes to burnout and causes students to be behind and do worse in their course. Putting a weeks break between exams and the start of semester 2 will massively mitigate the burnout and stress caused.


If someone's just run an 8-hour marathon with a sprint to the finish, no sane human being would go "Well done! Now take a 20-minute breather, we're going to do the exact same thing again" and yet every year that's exactly what happens.


It is absurd that some students have big exams or deadlines due on the last day of exams week and are expected to be ready for an entirely new semester 2 days later. We need a break!


I propose moving back Semester 2 back by a week and having no exams, no deadlines/assignments, no lectures or anything in the interim. Moving semester 2 back a week would:


•Boost student mental health as we actually get a break


•Boost the performance of student’s exams and coursework in semester 2


•Boost staff mental health as they can have more time to mark exams/coursework and compose themselves for semester 2.


Every year so far what's happened in my case, as well as many of my fellow students: We finish semester 1 exams, we try and go to lectures in semester 2 and generally keep up the pace, after a few days we stumble from sheer exhaustion and burn out and we get behind, which then snowballs and results in us doing worse.

Practically every student I know is behind, some worse than others and it's not good for anyone.


I'm not naive though, I know this would take work and time, I know that this will involve changing term dates, adjusting graduation dates, possibly adjusting accommodation contract lengths and more. I know that this isn't something that can be sorted out in an afternoon, but this would absolutely be the most effective and long-lasting thing the University could do to improve the mental

health of staff and students alike, which the University should be keen to do, what with their focus on improving mental health.


I would like to take the time to pre-emptively address one potential counter-argument of "Student's just had a break over winter, they don't need another break so soon". Unfortunately, this is fundamentally incorrect. Practically no students I know have actually been able to take a break over the winter period. With the amount of coursework and studying that's required, it's simply not feasible to both take a break, and do well. This isn't a time management issue either, even the most prepared and efficient students will still hardly get to take a break. Having a week with no assignments or exams pending would do wonders for students desperately needing a break, needing to fix their routines or do chores they've been putting off to focus on their studies.


This isn't something that I expect I'll ever be able to benefit from, since I'm graduating this year, but if future cohorts don't have to experience this problem, that will be great :)


Thank you for taking the time to read this petition, and I hope you will support it!


Best Wishes


Michael Hickie


Welfare Rep ECSS


Welfare Rep SVGE

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