Making the most of your Reading Week

Photo by Darien Funk

Reading week is fast approaching.  For the students who moved off-campus for their class, they have a chance to go back home this coming week.  Of course, it can be challenging in deciding whether to catch up on all school work or take the whole week off to treat yourself.

The truth is … you can do both.  Moderation with the work-life balance is crucial, and therefore, I would like to recommend some tips to ensure you’re making the most of your Reading week.

Reflect on your semester so far

Going into Reading week, you would have attended a week’s worth of lectures, tutorials, and/or labs.  Take a moment to think about what exactly you are doing well, alongside what you need to improve on.  

Ask yourself the following questions.  “Was I able to attend all my classes?  Did you leave yourself enough time to finish assignments, or did you leave them to the last minute?  For the first half of the Fall semester, do you recall yourself feeling more burned out and/or unproductive?

These questions will provide direction in the development of your game plan for Reading week.  You can establish realistic goals that will provide a visualization of what you want your final result to be, such as completing your schoolwork or feeling more well-rested.

Get organized

Write a to-do list of the courses that you want to work on for the week and from there, break down each course into the exact tasks (ex. Completing readings or starting essays).  You should then write down an approximate time duration that you intend to work on each task.

To-do lists make schoolwork less daunting and more manageable.  It is a way that allows you to set clear expectations for what must be done and prioritize the more important tasks, verify that you have not forgotten anything, and makes you feel less stressed.

Though, organization does not have to stop after Reading week.  Whether through a planner or online calendar, try outlining a typical school week by making note of class times, extracurricular meetings, and so forth.  Planning out your week like a blueprint gives you a visual overview which will help you instill a sense of a consistent schedule alongside how much free time you have.

Do not procrastinate

We all have our moments where despite an impending deadline, we end up leaving something to the last minute.  It is okay to do occasionally, but making a habit out of it will do you more harm.

For some, it may be hard to study back home due to distractions.  I recommend going to a local café, the library, or even studying outside to get a change in working environment.  If you have trouble studying by yourself, arrange a study date with your friends and that will motivate you more to start your work.  Do not push yourself and remind yourself that it is completely to take breaks as long as you go back to working afterwards.

In the event that you are already caught up with your courses, you can use the extra week to actually get ahead in some of your academics.  Things get busier towards the second half of the semester, so getting stuff out of the way will put less pressure on you.

Spend time with family

Remember, having a great Reading week means moderation and spending time with your family is important.  You may have not seen them in a while, so it is great to catch up on how everyone is doing.  Go out of your way to plan a family event, whether it is visiting a local Fall fair or an at-home movie night.

This week also gives you the chance to confide in your family about your school experience.  Learning in a hybrid/ remote format is not suited for everyone, so many have been dealing with their own issues.  Your family is one of many in your support system, so openly talking with them can make you feel better and strengthen your familial bond.

Pay attention to your health

In the heat of the moment, the first half of the semester may have led to us sacrificing some hours of sleep or not going out as much as we should.  A healthy body and a healthy mind can go hand-in-hand.  Beyond the schoolwork, Reading Week is supposed to be your chance to relax and treat yourself.

Take the time to establish consistent sleep schedules during this week to bring back the remainder of the semester.  As for physical health, do it in a way that feels right to you, whether it means going to the gym, attending a Zumba class, or simply walking around the neighborhood.  

Mental health is also important.  If it means bringing your favorite show or having a spa day at home, make time for your favorite activities to relax.  In addition, try to practice mindfulness and living in the moment to detach yourself from any outside stressors.

Again, Reading Week is not about prioritizing work or play over one another, but rather equally in moderation.  We may all have different goals and expectations for our Reading Week, which is completely fine. Make the most of the time you have and instill habits then to carry on for the rest of the semester.

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