Beach and rocks.

Why it’s okay to have an unproductive reading week

Reading week is for getting work done (it’s even implied in the name) but, of all the reading weeks I’ve experienced while at university, it’s probably fair to say they are the time when my productivity is at its lowest. And that’s okay! This week I’m writing about why reading week doesn’t need to be all about homework. 

When reading week is around the corner, I usually make some grand plans for what I hope to accomplish. I tell myself I’ll wake up early each day and work for a few hours on essays, studying for midterms, catching up on readings, etc. Spoiler alert: I never do this. 

U of T holds a reading week later than most Canadian universities, and because of this, we have already learned a huge amount of course content when the break rolls around. Personally, I prefer the break being in November because when it does come around it disrupts the flow of my work routine....which means I get lazy and decide to pick up that tv show I was watching in the summer. However, I have a habit of not realizing how burnt out I actually am. 

Photo of tv playing Occupied.
Tv show: Occupied

I make my plans for a productive reading week but never follow through because my mind just can’t take more work. Therefore, I’ve realized that reading week is the perfect time to recharge. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to ignore that nagging feeling of stress when I’m not productive, but it’s counteracted by the burnout. So, instead of catching up on my workload during reading week, I just try to catch up with myself!

Last week:

  • I went on a couple nature walks. 
Beach pathway with reeds and clouds.
  • Watched a bunch of movies and tv shows.
  • Danced around the house.
  • Did some non-academic creative writing.

All of these activities helped rejuvenate my brain so that I’ll be ready to jump back into the last stretch of school before the end of the semester. As a student, it can be difficult to feel accomplished after an unproductive reading week, but I’m trying to reshape what that means because I gave myself the chance to recharge and that is productive in itself. 

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