THE WINTER BREAK REPORT

The drafting committee for education issues (BG) within the Law Students' Union (JF) has been examining whether JF has the support of the students to continue to pursue the matter of introducing a winter break or not. If support is found among the students then JF will present a final proposal to the Faculty of Law in Lund.

Background
In the spring of 2018, a study was launched on the introduction of a winter break in January, immediately after the end of the autumn term. Inspiration was drawn from the Faculty of Medicine, where most programmes have introduced a similar break, which has worked well for students as well as for the faculty and its staff. The aim of a winter break is to allow students to recover and to reduce the stress and mental illness that occurs in the law programme. Recovery is often highlighted by the Student Health Service as being particularly important for student wellbeing. The need for recovery is also confirmed by the Student Barometer 2017 survey published in autumn 2018, which showed, among other things, that law students very strongly agreed with the statement that they often feel stressed because of their studies. For more information on mental health among law students, please refer to the Student Barometer, which can be read here (in Swedish): https://www.medarbetarwebben.lu.se/sites/medarbetarwebben.lu.se/files/studentbarometern_2017_rapport.pdf

Since spring 2018, BG, through a working group (hereafter "the working group"), has been working intensely to examine the impact of a winter break on students. This has resulted in a concrete proposal on how a winter break could be introduced. The final proposal is presented below.


Semester dates today
Currently, the autumn semester starts on the Monday between 28/8 and 3/9. The autumn semester lasts 20 weeks. The spring semester then begins immediately thereafter and runs for another 20 weeks. Students thus study for 40 consecutive weeks without the possibility of recovery. These semester dates follow the central semester dates of Lund University.

Examined possibilities
Several different models have been explored, including the possibility of introducing a Christmas holiday. However, a Christmas break is not possible due to the course structure and the timing of examinations during the semester. For more detailed information on this, see the working group's report (link below).

It has also proved difficult to add a winter break immediately after the end of the autumn term by either pushing the autumn term back or pushing the spring term forward. This is partly because of the timing of red days and partly because the spring term would then extend too far into the summer in some years. Read more about this in our report (in Swedish).