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Making the most of Reading Week
Alas, reading week is here! Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone and so have our family obligations. We're now free to relax, recharge, and get caught up on school work. Some of us, however, may have deadlines right after reading week. Relaxing sounds great, but who's got time for that when there's an assignment due the day we return? If you're overwhlemed and are already feeling more behind than you were last Friday, read on for some tips that will get you back on track.
Reading week means no strict schedule. So why should you be looking at your calendar again? From my own experience, a week can go by very quickly. Especially, when you’re back home, have more free time, and are spending it with loved ones. You don’t want to suddenly realize it's the Sunday before classes start again and you’ve done none of your work. Yikes.
What I mean, is that it doesn’t hurt to look ahead. First thing to do? Figure out your deadlines and plan them accordingly in your calendar for the week. For example, what does your timeline look like? Going abroad? Spending two days at the cottage? Figure out how much time you actually have to sit down and get some work done so that you can break it up into manageable chunks. But more on that later.
Take some time for yourself
Now that you have your master plan for reading week, make sure you set aside time to treat yourself. Some people like to recharge by meeting friends and going for exciting outings. Others might need some time at home to snuggle up with a good book or hunker down for a video game binge. Try to enjoy your favorite hobbies that you might not have had time for in the term so far. If you can, grab some alone time. Living with roommates and loud classes can really take a toll on you.
As well, burnout and stress will add up. I get it. I’ve been there: half-crazed, hair disheveled, and a delirious look in my eyes sitting in class like a possum playing dead after having survived an all-nighter. Reading week is a great time to re-adjust some less than savoury habits you might have fallen into at school. Exercise is a good way to reduce stress. Taking a wellness day to do a deep cleanse is also never a bad idea. Who knew that stress could cause breakouts? Sleep-in, hang out, and indulge. Taking care of yourself is the first (and arguably most) important step to tackling your workload and balancing your life.
I know, I know, bringing up coursework for reading week is a faux pas for some of you. But hear me out. Reading week is your opportunity. It is a week not dictated by a busy class schedule and offers the chance to correct falling behind. Awesome, right? But how are you supposed to balance that with self-care? I recommend doing a little bit each day. This seems self-explanatory but runs contrary to many of you procrastinators out there (yes, I’m talking to you). A good way of doing this is by splitting up your work. For example, divide a reading by the number of free days you have during reading week. Got 50 pages of a chapter to take notes on? Easy; that’s only 10 pages each day over five days. And when you’re actually working, I’d recommend strategies like the Pomodoro technique, which is a sequence of 25 minutes of work, with five minutes of break, and a longer break after four of those cycles.
The bottom line here is you’ve already made it through a good chunk of the term. Planning ahead can lessen feeling overwhelmed by deadlines, while also giving you time to relax. Then, fully refreshed, you can buckle in for the next few months of class. Happy Reading Week!