How To: Reading Week

By: Dina Badawi

 

Whether it is the fall or winter reading week, a very common thing to hear by the end of the week is: “Shoot! I didn’t do anything this week and now I am so stressed and so behind!”

Still, if you spend the whole week working to stay on top of things, sooner or later, you are back to the grind and have to struggle to keep up again, and you feel like you didn’t get a break. On the other hand, if you spend the week doing nothing except watching Netflix, you’ll feel stressed once school begins again. Ideally, you want to get ahead on your work and also come back as relaxed as you can be.

If going home for the week is an accessible and comfortable option for you, make sure to do that. There’s nothing I find more comfortable than sleeping in my own bed after a long time away. It feels great to have some home cooked meals, and to be in the same space as your family again. Plus, you can guarantee to spend less money at home than you would if you are living alone, which is simply another bonus.

The best way to ensure that your time is well managed is to create a daily schedule and a list. Write down all the things you want to accomplish during this week, and number them from most to least important. This way you will make sure that the most important things are done in a timely manner, and you will hopefully be less stressed. Again, your goal is to come back from reading week relaxed, not to overwork yourself. So, if you don’t finish that one assignment due on the Friday you come back, you will be just fine. 

To be most successful during reading week, I start with some easy work on the weekend before reading week starts, so the effort won’t be too draining, but will still make me feel accomplished. This way you are not wasting time but you are also doing less work than you usually would be. Then when the week starts, work on the projects that will take the longest time. That ensures that you will have enough time to finish it, and it will be out of the way. Also, if you finish the hardest things at the beginning of the week, then everything you do after that won’t feel as bad, which is a truly relieving feeling. 

To make sure you don’t feel like you’ve spent your whole reading week with your head in the books, give yourself a break every day. It doesn’t matter how long it is or what you do, but it should be relaxing or enjoyable. Whether that means going to the gym for an hour, watching Netflix, reading a book, or catching up with friends, it is really important to block out time every single day to have at least an hour break. 

Another vital component to a successful reading week is to get enough sleep. Sooner or later, you will be back to the grind and you are going to be sleep deprived. Take this opportunity to go to sleep early, or sleep in a little more than you are used to. This way you’ll be energized for the rest of the semester. 

As reading week comes to an end, finish off what you wanted to do and make sure to take the weekend before school starts off. These two days will give you the break you deserve. Plus, your mind will be a lot clearer knowing that you’ve done at least some work. 

The important thing now that reading week is over is that you take it easy going back in. Make the best of what you have left in the semester and make sure to keep up with the work so that it doesn’t stack up. However, as important as school is, make sure to always take mental breaks. It’s only when your mental health is doing well that your schooling will reflect it.