Being Part of the Academic Community: Critical Reading Seminar

The way I see it, university is mainly about two things: reading and writing. Obviously this is an oversimplified view of what it means to be a student at University of Toronto, but one can hardly deny that outside of lectures and tutorials, the majority of student life is spent with either your nose in a book, or your fingers frantically typing away at an essay. I acknowledge that for some programs, essay writing isn’t a big component, but if you replace essays with problem sets or lab reports, the amount of writing that needs to be done for those are probably at par with writing essays.

picture of a computer screen in a class room in front of a projector screen projecting slides from a seminar

I mention this because last Friday, I attended a critical reading seminar at E.J. Pratt Library and so I thought, why not write about what I learned at the seminar. Earlier this year, I wrote a post about going to the Writing Plus workshop offered by the Writing Centre. I was surprised by what I took away from the workshop so I thought to myself, lets see what I can take away from a critical reading seminar. Much like the Writing Plus workshop, I really wasn’t expecting to walk away from the seminar with very much in the way of new insights, but unsurprisingly, there were significant nuggets of wisdom that I thankfully was able grasp!

Reading Week + Reading Lists

Happy Reading Week, y’all! It seems cruel that Winter with a capital W finally decided to kick in during the one week we don’t have school. But to make the most of these frigid temperatures, I’ve spent this Reading Week doing exactly that — reading. Since I’ve gone home to visit my family over the break, relaxing and curling up with a book in a warm house sounds pretty ideal after a strenuous round of midterms. 

A view of the UC Quad on a rainy afternoon.
It’s probably too cold to be reading in one of my favourite spots on campus – the UC quad – but this shouldn’t stop us from enjoying a good book!

Now there are many ways to go about setting yourself a reading schedule for Reading Week. Personally, the obvious choice is to power through the entire Harry Potter series (7 books, 7 days of Reading Week? This was clearly meant to be). However, since I’ve done this exact feat on at least 12 different occasions, I thought I’d branch out. Here’s what’s been on my Reading Radar for the 2016 Reading Week:

Reading, Writing, and Relaxation (They Can Go Together, I Promise)

When brainstorming ideas with the rest of the blog crew this week, we were discussing libraries and using academic resources.  I made a joking comment that you could, hypothetically that is, actually get a book out for pleasure reading.  The…