By Sophia Klymchuk, 2nd year Con-Ed French/Psych student
It’s hard to believe that I am typing this, but we are now in Week 6, halfway through the semester! On an even happier note, reading week is coming up in only a few short days. Whether you are staying on campus or jumping on the next flight to Cancun, there are ways you can make sure that you make the most out of this week off, academically and mentally.
They call it “Reading Week” for a reason. For many of you, you may currently find yourself in a swamp of many assignments, midterms and mid-semester catching up to do. One week off is a great opportunity to get most of the studying, essay-writing and reading done, if you plan accordingly.
The first step is to go back to square one, and consult the syllabus for every course you plan on working on during the break. This is a good way to get a bird’s eye view of everything that must be done in the upcoming weeks following your break, as well as anything you may have missed during the first half of the semester. The syllabus is your key to not get the dreaded feeling of being overwhelmed. If you don’t know where to start with your Reading Week schedule, the Peer Learning Assistants will be offering sessions at Stauffer Library this week to help you out. Times and more information are at the end of this post.
The next step is to take the information from your syllabus and make your plan for the week. This can be as flexible as you want it to be, depending on how much time you want to devote to work during the week. You may be thinking “Oh, I only have a little bit of stuff to do during the break, I don’t need to write it down!” but even writing the smallest things down will increase the chance that you will do them, as well as your motivation. A set plan, if anything, gives you a good idea of what your week will look like and will assure that you do not miss out on anything.
If you are going back home for the break, make sure you have an area where you can study without any distractions. I, like many students, tend to get distracted by my home environment. My mom’s cooking and the presence of my siblings makes it hard to get work done. Find a spot in your hometown where you can work in a comfortable environment without any distractions, whether it’s your local library or a new café that just opened.
“But I will be in Cancun all week! I can’t possibly get anything done!” You may be right, but only to an extent. There will still be some found time during your vacation that you can get some work done. Found time refers to time that comes up unexpectedly during your day that you can use to be productive. For example, if you have a big midterm coming up the week after your break, set aside some time this week to make some cue cards. Recite them during your plane ride. If you have a major text to read, use the time you spend on the beach to get some reading done. Nothing beats lounging by the water with a book in hand!
Most importantly, make sure to set aside time for breaks amidst all your work. It is a break, after all! Take the time to catch up with old friends, start a new show or spend time with family. Put your break times in your schedule as well, after periods of work to reward yourself.
Productive Breaks: Reading Week Schedule Drop-In is a session held by the Peer Learning Assistants, who will be offering one-on-one help, designed to help you plan your reading week efficiently. Your schedule will be tailored to your own needs and will ensure that you will get everything done! The drop-in will be held on February 15th at Stauffer Library, Room 121, from 12 to 7pm. Stop by!
Photo courtesy of the Sophia Klymchuk.