Balance, Classes, Down time, People, Places, Student Life, Study

Musing About Reading Week

Reading Week has come and gone, and now we’re back to classes. Sigh. Every year, I look forward to the much deserved break and yet again, I fail to realize how quickly a week can go by. I always start out with a lot of aspirations –like I planned to not only catch up on all my readings, but also get ahead on readings for the next two weeks. I also planned on getting ahead on my essays and other assignments, while juggling friends and family members that I haven’t seen in a bit.

Picture of Liana at the Rideau Canal

Last year, I spent part of Reading Week in Ottawa, and here I’m on the Rideau Canal. Unfortunately, my sickness prevented me from travelling anywhere this year.

But that all went out the window when I got sick a few days into Reading Week. I woke up feeling like I’d been hit in the head with nausea, a sore throat, and a stuffed nose. I literally cursed myself in that moment. Out of all times to be sick, how could it be that this happened to me during Reading Week –the one week where I can do anything at my leisure? After a trip to the Health & Wellness Centre, I was formally diagnosed with…the very common cold. So while that wasn’t so surprising, I was still bitter about the fact that my body had finally succumbed to its limits. This semester has left me feeling tired, and now my body was finally giving me the signal that it was time to relax.

Unsurprisingly, even though I haven’t been sick in past years during Reading Week, the same thing always seems to happen. I start the week with a To Do list, and it’s quickly ignored when I don’t feel like doing schoolwork or have other plans. Reading Week can mean various things to other people. To some, it represents a vacation or study time or just a time to hang out in the city. For me, it was a week of procrastinating and binge watching movies and TV shows.

But the thing that I learned from Reading Week is that it is what you make of it. Sometimes we all need a break from the pressure put on us to achieve perfection: in whatever form, if that’s completing assignments on time or studying for midterms (which if you still have them, I wish you good luck). But what Reading Week has taught me the most is to pause, reflect on what’s occurring in my life, and most of all to listen to the message that so many professors have reiterated to me: Take time to pause, ask for help if you need it, and go forth into the academic world of U of T.

Picture of a to do list that says "Nothing" scratched out

After I got sick, this is basically what my to do list looked like. (Source: knowyourmeme.com)

Towards the end of the week, I was starting to feel better and that gave me time to begin working on the never ending assignments that I have due in March and April. Reading Week is the halfway point in the semester, meaning that there are only six weeks of classes left. Can you believe it? I’ve stated it in previous posts, but I’m always amazed at the passage of time, how sometimes I can get lost in the hustle and bustle of schoolwork and other times, it can feel like time is dragging on. I’m looking towards the future (think summer jobs), and what I want to accomplish next year (my last year at U of T). But because I have so many assignments between me and that time period, I’m attempting to stay in the present.

Now that we’re officially back to classes, I’m feeling more refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on what the rest of the semester has to offer for me. Please remember to reach out for support if you need it because it’s never too late to change things. I’m also hoping that the weather will stay as Spring-like as it did during Reading Week, so here’s to a productive and sunny countdown to the end of the school year!