Clue: It doesn’t involve lying in bed reading all the Harry Potters 24/7.

There is one term that can cause both fury and euphoria among uni students nationwide. 

‘Reading week’.

In simple terms, it’s the equivalent of a half-term that we used to have back at school.

For those who do sciences and medicine degrees, it causes jealousy and a slight rage. There is nothing worse than watching the humanities housemates lounging around in their pyjamas doing reading all day whilst you have to struggle through the cold to get to lectures before 9am. 

For arts and humanities students (or degrees with a big emphasis on reading materials) it is an absolute God send. As an English Lit student having to read the equivalent of 3-4 novels a week, reading week is my chance to catch up and get ahead of the truckloads of reading I’m expected to do. We do have it for a reason! 

But I wasn’t always like this. Back in my first year I naively thought it was a week off to chill. Oh how I was wrong… If you don’t use reading week wisely, you can find yourself swamped in reading and deadlines in the blink of an eye. 

Here is my comprehensive guide to making the most out of your reading week! 

Time is of the essence
Just because you don’t have a 9am to go to on Tuesday doesn’t mean you can justify lying in until past midday everyday. Before you know it, reading week will have disappeared from underneath you. Get up at your usual time and make the most of the day. If you get up earlier, you’ll have more time to get work done. 

Plan, plan, plan!
Have a rough idea of what work you’re going to do on each day of the week. Set one day aside for dissertation research, two or three for reading and one for seminar work you need to do. I always give myself one day off. You don’t want to overwork yourself! 

Where for art thou, study space? 
Choose somewhere that you know you can work well and achieve the goals that you have set yourself for the week. Whether its the library, you bedroom, the dining room table back home or the rickety bench at the park. Find your study space and embrace it. 

Don’t overdo it
Reading week may feel liberating and a great chance to catch up but you don’t want to overwork yourself. You may have a whole 5 days to fill with productive reading and working but that doesn’t mean you have to work into the wee hours of the morning. If you put some solid work time in during the day treat yourself to a movie night. Keep your evenings free to do what YOU want to do. It will make you more relaxed and keep you sane. 

Take a mini break
If you do want to take reading week as an opportunity to have a bit of a break from uni work then who is to stop you?! I know a lot of friends who go on holiday or a mini break for a few days during reading week. They pack their case with books and jet off for some sightseeing and relaxation abroad. As long as you take some work to do with you, your reading week won’t be a massive waste of time. 

To be totally honest, if you have any idea what you are doing at uni you’ll know that reading week is a gift. Treasure it and use it wisely. There is nothing better than coming to the end of reading week and realising you have ticked everything off of your to-do list. Whilst the scientists are slaving away at desks, appreciate being wrapped in a duvet burrito and getting through your reading lists. 

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Written by Emma Riches, 9 months ago