What is reading week for?

Next week is the dream week for humanities based students, and the scorn of those doing a ‘real subject.’ Yes, it’s reading week. But unsure of what to do with it? This week, Iona suggests some ideas for making your reading week useful and setting yourself up for a productive second half of term.

By Iona Craig.

Reading week always comes around fast, acting as a tempting tease for those who don’t have it and a breath of relief for those who do. Campus quietens as students make their way off home or hide in their hall rather than congregate outside lecture theatres. Seven whole days of no commitments, bringing promise of a more managed, organised and productive second half of term. Here are seven ways to use your reading week to get to this.

R: Rest and recovery

Rest is vital for productivity. It can be more productive than doing anything. By rest I am not referring to sitting on a phone scrolling but rather sleep or doing something mindful such as reading, going for a gentle walk or simple being. Term can be a hectic rush so using your reading week for rest and recovery is vital – just take a moment to let your mind and body stop.

A hand drawing of central campus held up in front of an outdoor scene of grass, a tree, and the koan.
With some breathing space, use reading week to take a break and enjoy university life. Image credit: Emily Alger.

E: Eating

Making meals, especially in first year kitchens can be next to impossible due to stacked up and blocked sinks, grimy counters and limited utensils. Never mind the lack of time and energy as meal times approach. Taking some time to prioritise what you are eating and making sure your having at least three meals a day is a really good use of time over reading week when you may have that little bit of extra energy to do so.

A: Analysing how the term is going

Analysing links back to rest and taking a moment to stop. Reading week offers a good time to decide what is going well and what you may like to do differently. Doing less sport than you intended? Decide where you can fit it in or what day you will make it a priority. Not getting through the work? Have a look at how you could schedule it in more realistically for next term. Make a plan so the second half of term meets the expectations you would like it to.

An exterior image of Warwick library and cafe library, with a blue sky.
During reading week, have a think about how term is going. Image credit: University of Warwick.

D: Do some work

As well as reflecting on the first half of term this is a good time to use reading week for what it is intended for – reading. It can be really helpful to make a list of all the work you would like to complete over the week and plan in what you will do each day to make sure it gets done as the week can go by very quickly.

A girl with long brown hair wearing black clothes, standing between some bookshelves
A week without lectures and seminars means you can get really get into some work. Image credit: Iona Craig.

I: Interests and Hobbies

Perhaps all interests outside the course have been dropped since the beginning of term when you optimistically signed up to several societies but then work took over. Reading week can offer the time to spend a little bit of energy on a dropped interest or hobby that you do for simple enjoyment! This is another good way to integrate mental rest into your week.

The Warwick sports and wellness building at dusk, with a dark blue sky.
Maybe spend some time doing some activities at the Sports and Wellness Hub. Image credit: University of Warwick.

N: Navigating your way home

Often students take this time to see their family. Again, it can be good to have a break from university setting but it can also be very easy to switch off from uni work at home. Whilst analysing how the term is going it might be worth thinking whether you work best at home or uni and then thinking where you would like to spend your reading week accordingly. Is it an option to spend a few days at home and a few days at uni to get the best of both options? Either way finding the time to check in with family or supportive friends can be a good use of time.

G: Gratitude

Programme your brain to spot the positives and think of a few things to be grateful for – such as having a week off as not all of us do!

If you’ve got lots of work to do this reading week, why not take a look at our post on structuring your time without a formal timetable. Or if you’re thinking about how you can relax, have a read of how you can fall in love with books again.

How are you going to be spending your reading week? Or are you someone who doesn’t get one? Let us know in the comments below, send us a message on Instagram @warwicklibrary or a tweet @warwicklibrary, or by emailing us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk

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