How to make the most of reading week

/Chloé Charbonneau

Reading week! How I love you. No due dates, and no classes makes for a really good time. Although reading week seems really early this year, I think it’s time we all had a break. Here are some things you can do to make the most out of your break.

Get some rest

Catching up on sleep is not really possible. Once you’ve missed it, that’s it. Working all night through the week and then trying to get extra sleep on the weekend doesn’t help. What you can do is fix your sleep schedule. Use your time off to figure out what time you need to get up every day and stick to it. Go to bed at a reasonable hour that will allow you to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. That’s what most people need in order to function. Then, wake up at the same time every day. Your body will get used to it and you might find yourself with extra time before class to finish your reading, pack a lunch, or even just watch an episode of Friends over some toast and coffee.

Also, make sure you consider your caffeine intake when you’re planning. While most of the caffeine in your afternoon jolt is absorbed by your body within about 45 minutes, you should expect the effects to last much longer. It can take anywhere from four to six hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off. That means your last cup of coffee shouldn’t be much later than late afternoon.

Try to be reasonable about planning for sleep. Lots of people think they can get by on four or five hours of sleep a night but that just isn’t true. Your body and brain need rest. It’s good for your brain so you won’t have to study as hard to retain all that important information.

 

Study a little bit each day

Rather than cramming your midterm studying into one day, spread it out over the week. Pick a chapter or two for each day for each subject and just focus on that. That way you’ll be able to make sure you understand the material before moving on to something else. If you save it all for Sunday, it’s less studying and more of a race against the clock to see if you can read 10 chapters in one day for five classes. Hint: you can’t.

When it comes to essays, you really don’t need as much time as you think as long as your time is focused. Do your research, and then take an hour or two each day to fully outline and then write your essay. Breaking it into smaller chunks will make that 4000 words feel a lot smaller. You’ll be relieved when you don’t have to write it the night before it’s due.

 

Clean your house

Not everybody is going ‘home’ for Thanksgiving, but even if you are, you will probably get back here before classes start up again. You can use the time to make up for all the cleaning you haven’t been doing throughout the semester. Take the dishes out of the dish rack. Wash your sheets. Fold and put away your laundry. A tidy home will make it a lot easier to get things done. You won’t get distracted trying to figure out where that smell is coming from while you’re trying to study.

 

Me Time

Don’t forget about yourself. The point of reading week is to give students a break to recharge their batteries. Studying is great but it’s not everything. Take some time over the break to do something for yourself. Even if that’s just binging a show you’ve fallen behind on or rearranging your bedroom furniture for a better flow.

When it comes to TV binging, the key to a successful binge is listening when Netflix judges you. Are you still watching? Maybe it’s time to take a break. Stand up, move around, drink your water, and eat a healthy snack. Read a chapter from your textbook and fold a load of laundry. If you plan your time well enough, you can get a few things done at once without any of it feeling overwhelming.

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