The ultimate guide of things not to do during reading week

Don’t be fooled by the prospect of a whole lecture-free week


The time has come, the much anticipated (or, in my case, dreaded) reading week is underway. As promising as a week of having a "break" may sound, if you don't balance your time carefully you might find yourself falling deeper and deeper into an abyss of hopelessness and misery. No Jessica, I'm not being too dramatic.

However, this "break" doesn't have to be as awful as I suggested it might be. The key to a successful (read: endurable) reading week is simple: don't make these common mistakes, you don't want to feel miserable for 10 long days and feel like they were the worst week of your semester (I swear I'm not writing from personal experience).

Locking yourself in your room for days

Even though you might think that isolating yourself for days on end and completely vanishing from your social circle will serve a good cause, think again. Locking yourself in your room with only books and your laptop because "this way I’ll just focus on my essays" is not a great idea. More likely you'll be sat on Instagram looking at all these people flying across the world for a "short trip", while you're sat on your ass. It’s fine to take some time off, especially outside your house – it actually helps you survive.

FaceTiming as a form of procrastination never works

If you’re not going home because the deadlines are just too much to handle, don’t make the mistake of calling your family and/or friends while you’re in the middle of writing an essay that is due in less that 24 hours. In all probability you’ll feel homesick and the little motivation you had will completely disappear. Plus you may or may not end up in a 45 minute gossip with your Mum about what's going on.

Attempting a Christmas Clean (way ahead of time)

While you're busy procrastinating you might have the brilliant idea to clean up your room – it won't take up too much time, right? Wrong. Your good resolution to tidy up will become an excuse to rearrange your wardrobe, and we all know where that leads: online shopping. As a result you'll end up saying goodbye not only to hours of your precious time, but also to the little money you had.

Avoiding your friends for a week

Just like getting out of your house, what you may consider a distraction can actually help you. It’s good to see people IRL, because they probably will be as desperate as you! It's fine to go for a coffee or to the cinema, or you can bask in your misery together over drinks.

Listening to the same Taylor Swift album/song on loop

Just don't. You’ll probably end up hating it and won’t be able to enjoy it ever again because it will remind you of the despair you felt during reading week. Whenever you listen to it in the future you’ll picture a badly lit room in Maughan library, a blank Word document and a menacing pile of books – not really how you want to remember the last years of freedom.

Getting wasted on Halloween night

I'll only have a few drinks, you might say. A little party never killed nobody, you may think. But what about the next morning, when your unfinished essay is due in only a few hours, you've barely slept and your headache is literally killing you? Then you will regret all your life choices.

Waking up early every day because you "absolutely need to finish this by tonight"

Can you tell that I'm tired?

The truth is you probably won’t finish anyway, so there’s no use being tired all day – you’ll only risk falling asleep in front of your laptop, your caffeine addiction will skyrocket and you’ll never catch up on the 4,758 hours of sleep that you skipped during term. You might think that looking like a zombie may come in handy on Halloween, but you'll never be as spooky as the threat of your deadlines approaching so it's pointless really.

One last note on reading week. With this article I'd like to start a petition to rename it writing week because, let’s face it, no one will ever use the time to do their readings in advance, nor to catch up on the old ones for that matter.

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