Although not getting the same half terms as schools and colleges, some university students are blessed with having something called a reading week. This is essentially a period in the middle of the semester where there are no scheduled lectures or seminars – giving you plenty of free time to, well, read.
Here are some of my top tips on how to get the most out of this time and the various ways you can use it.
Catch up on reading and get ahead on assignments
This is the most obvious thing to do during reading week and the main reason why it is there. Having a week of no planned or structured learning means you can tailor your time to what you need to focus on most. Perhaps you have some essential readings you have fallen behind on, or have a load of assignments due in a few weeks on the same day. If so, this is the perfect time to both catch up and get ahead on your degree. Trust me, you will thank yourself for it later.
Create a study schedule/plan
The second half of a semester generally tends to be the busier one; that’s why creating a study plan may be an effective use of your time. Go through your diary and note down all the important upcoming academic dates and create a list of what needs to be prioritised most. Setting yourself personal deadlines is also something I find helps when I have a lot of work impending. For instance, writing down the amount of work I need to have done on a particular assignment by a certain date is massively beneficial.
It is equally important to set aside time to reflect on your progress so far and appreciate all of your achievements. Sometimes university workloads can be overwhelming which leads us to being overly hard on ourselves. Acknowledge all your accomplishments to date and know that you are doing all the necessary things to ensure you will get the most out of your degree.
Possibly most applicable to third years, it might be a good idea to start looking around and see what graduate jobs are being advertised. At the same time, brush up on your CV, LinkedIn profile and personal statement writing skills so that you have them at your disposal when it comes to applying.
Clean and tidy up
They do say, a tidy home is a tidy mind (or something like that anyway). Why not have a clear out and declutter the junk in your room and wardrobe. This can be fulfilling in a number of ways and a good stress-buster. Taking all your unwanted items to a charity shop or recycling centre means you are also doing something worthwhile with things that are simply just gathering dust.
Relax and refresh
No-one expects you to work relentlessly during your reading week which is why it is equally important to take time for yourself and catch a break. Grab a book, go for a walk, or maybe do some meditating, but just remember to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Make time for family and friends
You will find that a lot of people will head home during their reading week to not only seek some home comforts for a while but to also spend time with family and friends. Support from back home is crucial for getting through stressful times at uni and I’m sure your nan will be over the moon to have a cuppa tea and chat.