By Aleks Bibic
Reading week is officially 5 days away… So what are your plans?
- A nice, relaxing, week at home? Spending time with the family/friends, enjoying some post-midterm sleep, and catching up on your favourite TV series?
- A peaceful, housemates-free, 9 days of sleep-catch-up here in Kingston?
- A sun-soaked, shoes-optional, week of fun, beaching, and relaxation with your grad class, besties, or family?
- #OccupyLibrary to catch up on the work you haven’t been keeping up with/prepping for the midterms your professors (cruelly) scheduled for the week after reading week?
Whatever it is that you’re planning for Feb 18-26, don’t lose sight of what the week should be for. Yes, it’s an academic break from Stauffer, Douglas, or the overly crowded Starbucks at Johnson and Division, but it is Reading Week!
This is by no means a lecture on the benefits of pouring over your [insert subject here] course-pack (believe me, I’m tucking my Stats text away for a few days); rather, it’s a healthy dose of encouragement to include some reading/literacy-based activity into each day of RW. For those of you still unsure of what to read, here are a few ideas:
Beach, Bed & Bus-ride Reads:
- Each semester, we’re assigned more than our fair share of academic reading; because of this, it’s easy forget how enjoyable reading for the sake of interest can actually be. Pick up that novel that you’ve been dying to read, but haven’t had the chance because of those regular weekly readings. Whether you’re attempting The Odyssey, a Game of Thrones marathon, or a ‘trashy’ romance, just enjoy the feeling of living vicariously through the characters on the page.
- If you haven’t yet discovered this online gem, reading week is the perfect time to do so! Master the countries of the world, fill in the blank of song titles, or see if you can identify the logos of major sports teams or multi-national corporations. Sporcle literally has thousands of different games/quizzes that you try to complete against the clock. I was introduced to Sporcle this past fall, I’m now addicted. And if I’m being honest, it’s so much more fun/productive than creeping people’s spring-break albums on Facebook.
From Ferraris to Ferragamo & Canon to Cambodia
- Pick up some magazines related to any of your non-academic interests (fashion, cars, world issues, photography, travel, adventure, sports, etc)—learn about the latest news in and stories from that field. Alternatively, check out the web versions of magazines! National Geographic is a favourite of mine—yes, it is my home page; there’s never a shortage of amazing adventure stories or albums of cities, countries, cultures, and foods that I would love to experience once my university debt is paid off!
Think Outside the Queen’s Bubble
- As university students, we face a great deal of academic and personal stress every day. Maintaining healthy friendships and relationships, keeping an active social-calendar, and balancing extra-curriculars and part-time jobs, all while working to do well in our courses, is a lot to handle. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our Queen’s bubble and forget about that great big world that exists outside of it. Pick up a newspaper, or sort through a paper’s on-line articles and archives to catch up your current events. Not only will you become a better-informed individual, but it’ll also be a great way to impress the family during dinnertime conversation.
Take Stock of your Progress this Semester
- Last, but definitely not least… Regardless of how academically stellar your semester has been thus far, take some time to look over your course work/notes and indicate the areas that you understand well, and those that still need some fine-tuning. This will help keep your progress in check, and act as a reminder, in the coming weeks, of what it is that you DO know, and which areas you might need to seek some extra help before those finals! Don’t forget about all of the learning resources available to you here at Queen’s (Learning Strategies, your professor’s/T.A.’s office hours, librarians, tutors, peers, etc.)—we’re in this together to support one another.
February is the month for Mental Health Awareness. So whatever it is that you’re doing next week, please make sure you take the time to relax and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul.
Safe travels, and happy reading!