cheryl eating a waffle by the canal

⛷ How I Planned My Reading Week ✍️

When I started my first year at the University of Toronto, I had as little a clue about what a 'reading week' was as much as I had a clue about rocket science. People talked about anticipating this twice-a-year event, and university resources (like my college's Facebook page) advertised volunteering opportunities to take up during reading week. One of my peers clarified what reading week is for me: it is a week-long break. Reading is not mandatory, but it is a time during which many people read the many articles and textbook chapters they'd missed in anticipation of exam time in December.

two stacks of hardcovers on a table inside Kelly Library.
On a side note, I really enjoy reading at the Kelly Library of St. Michael's College.

This year, I have a much lighter course load. My reading week will be one of leisure, which I think is much deserved after the amount of writing and graduate school planning I have done this semester. I started planning as early as September, for I wanted to travel to Alberta. It's been a long time since I last skiied, and the Banff is open to out-of-province visitors. So I booked my flight to Calgary early, and just finished up reserving the shuttle taking me from the airport to the ski town.

Travelling within Canada, whether it be to a neighbuoring city using the Via Rail, or whether it be to a national park across the country, is often much more cost effective if reservations are made in advance.

a photo of the Niagra Falls waterfall from the Canadian side. A boat is in the water below.
I recently used the GO Train to get from Union Station to Niagra Falls for a day trip.

I will be visiting Banff to ski with my friends, which is a great socially distanced and physically rewarding way to socialize. Though I am not an expert, I find that practising a sport helps me build my confidence. Being able to reflect on my progression gives me a sense of pride. I liken my many-years-long journey to being a decent skiier to my academic career. It is a rigorous process that rewards merit and hard work.

Planning a trip, too, can be hard work. But I think that being able to decide for oneself what they will do and when to do it hones the initiative and organization necessary to minimize stress. I am proud to have had the freedom to explore the country in the past, and I look forward to continuing this personal journey during reading week.

A stage lit in red with four jazz band members sit in the background with audience members seated in the foreground. This is inside a performing space of a Salvation Army office.
This summer, I attended a jazz band performance in a Salvation Army community space in Amsterdam.

Before I start my break, however. I will make sure to slot in times for which I can work on academic studies and my side hustles alike. Scheduling time to work and to take a break is important to me. It allows me to enjoy my time without stressing over the things I have to do. As such, I plan to do some reading and writing on the evenings of my week-long-trip to Alberta. This leaves the hours of daylight open for skiing and hiking.

What plans do you have for your reading week? Are there any planning tools you prefer to use? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you! ♥️

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