Reading week. Aka half term. Aka a week off. To some people.
I’ve been there – reading week equals no lectures and time to ‘read’. I think my very first reading week consisted of me mainly having lie ins and watching a boxset – on DVD as this was before streaming services. Did it matter? Probably not. But depending on the course, it may be seven free days that could be put to much better use. Based on my own opinions from my experience, my 5 top tips may make reading week productive as well as giving you a much-needed breather from the first few weeks of term.
1. Know what you need to do
Depending on the course, there may be core texts to read, assignments to work on, or specific tasks to be carried out for the next week, so I think it’s always good to know what you need to do, and go from there. I would say that being honest about what you need to do is the best thing rather than pretending that you don’t need to read a chapter of a book when really you should. There’s no point doing a course if you aren’t going to at least do the bare minimum of studying.
2. Know what you should do
Knowing what you should do is the next thing to be aware of. These could be things such as starting or carrying on with an assignment, or doing some extra reading to get ahead of what needs to be done. You could even start working out a revision plan if you have exams coming up. I would again advise to be honest about what you should really be doing in reading week even though it is very tempting to forget about studying for a little while.
3. Know what you will be doing
I think it’s always good to be aware of what you will be doing in the coming weeks so you are prepared for anything you need to do. In reading week this could entail doing some extra reading or planning for classes in advance. There are usually deadlines towards the end of a semester, and so this may mean that you only have four or five weeks to prepare for doing a presentation or for completing an assignment. These weeks will go really fast so it’s good to be aware.
4. Make the most out of your time
Some courses are full on 9-5 while others are a few lectures and seminars a week, but they all eat away at your days and precious time. Therefore in reading week make the most out of the extra time you have. You could maybe sleep in a little later (rather than getting up for lectures) or enjoy a night out rather than worrying about waking up for uni the next day. Then there’s the studying part of your time. I would definitely advise to make the most of reading week at least in some part by doing some uni work. It’s quite disheartening going back to uni the next week and thinking that you haven’t achieved anything with the week off you’ve just had, especially when you may hear about how much other students have done.
My final tip is to relax. Take the time to enjoy not having to go to lectures, seminars, workshops, classes, or anything else university related. The first few weeks of term usually fly by and it’s always good to stop for a minute and reflect on what you’ve experienced so far. Some people find university easy while others struggle, and so taking time out to relax, in whatever way is best for you, is very important for your own mental health as well as for your studies.
Do you agree with my top 5 tips for making the most our of reading week? Tell me about any tips you have in the comments below.