With most Uni semesters being around or just past the half way point, a few course leaders may be considering giving students a week free from teaching. Whilst many will feel it’s an almighty haven or a substitute for half term, many soon realise it’s designed for it’s purpose – to give you a break from taking in more and more information, so you have time to process the notes you already have and to catch up on the giant reading/listening/watching list of resources you inevitably have from all your different modules.
With this in mind, here are some tips to make the most of your reading week, whether you’re slammed with assignments or left free to pursue your passion your own way.
Don’t Just Chill
Not having lectures for (most) of the week, it will often feel temping to have a week off . However, with deadlines looming and people often feeling they don’t have time to work with all their
sleeping –> listening in lectures, taking selfies instead of notes in seminars and spending hours working on your latest meme project in the workshops, take the idea of not having to get out of bed to go to them as an excuse to curl up with your notebook or pad of paper and crack on with those assignments. When it comes to the final deadlines and you’re working on other stuff whilst others are stressing out in overdrive, you’ll thank yourself
Don’t Burn Yourself Out Either
Having a timetable adds structure to your life and sometimes helps you have a daily routine. Having a reading week changes that. Whilst it’s important not to rest on your laurels and not work at all, it’s also important not to go the other way and spend all day and all night working. It might seem possible to do half a semester’s worth of work with all those extra hours, but it’s still important to have a break. We are only capable of working at full pace for a finite amount of time and pushing yourself through stress and strain regularly past this is not only bad for your health and well-being, it doesn’t do the quality of your work any good either, counter-acting the very element you should be focused on most.
Make a Playlist
In this day and age, access to music is easier than ever and with science proving that music can benefit you and your productivity, it’s worth building yourself a set of motivational tunes to keep you going whilst you feed on that dopamine. With services such as Last.fm, Napster, Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Microsoft Groove,Tidal and Google Play all offering free trials, it’s always worth taking advantage even if it’s just for this short period. If you’re more of an old school listener, build yourself a mixtape or burn a compilation onto a disc to listen to offline and off PC.
When it comes to choosing music it doesn’t have to be a specific genre, or even the same genre. If it helps you get things done without overly distracting you, add it in! You’ll be surprised how much you’ll complete!
Struggling? Start a Group
Nobody has to work alone. If you find it hard to concentrate working on your assignments alone, why not see if you and your classmates want to club together? If you’re not local to each other, find a neutral place to meet such as a coffee shop or the local pub. There are many cafés that now come with free WiFi and even some with a dedicated working area for professionals and study groups.
For those that are studying through distance learning or perhaps have workmates that will be remote during the reading week/study break, why not use online technologies such as VoIP? Services such as Skype, Google Hangouts, appear.in or even Facebook Messenger to create free conference calls and bridge the gap between everyone.
And Finally, Make a Game Plan
Now you’ve had your first hit of the year ahead of you and what the workload you have has given you some perspective, make yourself a rough game plan for when the madness begins again. You don’t have to stick to it meticulously (unless you prefer to work like that), but at least you’ll have a sense of how you’ll manage your work on the road to Christmas and possibly beyond.