What’s the point of reading week?
I don’t get one, so why should you?
Reading week: that one week of term where you lounge about doing nothing until a festering sense of guilt overpowers you.
Reluctantly, you’ll drag your hungover self out of bed and to the library where you try your best to mask the postcard size willow stamp on your forearm.
Usually, you spend the early hours of your deadline day drinking a cocktail of coffee and red bull hoping not to shamefully pass out in the library, and if you do it’s social suicide as you find yourself on the university’s Snapchat Facebook page snoring lazily over a copy of The Communist Manifesto.
Just how do we spend reading week? There are those who take a a more hedonistic alcohol-driven approach, and those who simply sit around and drink tea. Yet, other boring plebs like to get their heads down and actually do work.
But is there a point to it? Does this free time simply encourage us more irresponsible students to make poor use of a clear timetable? Arguably, maybe. What’s become a hot topic of debate is who gets reading week and who doesn’t.
To find out who gets reading week and how it’s used, we asked about.
Madalina Salai – First year French & German
“I’m studying French and German. I find new words I’m supposed to memorize every day, new articles I should read every day. I need a week when i can organize everything.
“Subjects where you’re supposed to read constantly to be able to get through your modules shouldn’t have reading weeks, like History. If you just don’t read about some huge event you won’t understand what follows.
“But everyone sees it as the week in which they’re going to be drunk 24/7.”
Sophie Rees – First year Music
“I feel like it’s given me time to catch up on my reading, but that’s only because I’m doing an academic module. For the performance modules they don’t have any lectures until the end of term, but I don’t really feel like it’s been that beneficial for me. But I’m not complaining because I’ve had a lie in every day.
“I reckon the sciences definitely deserve one, History, English as well, I guess all subjects do deserve a week off, I feel bad that I have one when people in my flat who have a lot more of a work load don’t.”
Chynna Brenham – Second year Psychology
“I’m a person who works throughout but it’s still not enough. I’ve been at the library for nine every day this week.”
“I think reading week can be an excuse to get hammered but when you know you have a whole week to do something, a lot of people wont feel the need to do it all instantly so will take advantage of not having a 9am on Monday and go to Revs instead. Reading week is definitely not like freshers part two, however.
“I couldn’t specifically name any subjects that deserve a reading week, but I would say a subject in which there is a genuinely copious amount of reading to do which you couldn’t get done normally since you have too many contact hours.”
There are generally mixed views on reading week. One physician dubbed it “pointless”, and a combined honours fresher complained about the poor communication between her two subjects, giving her an awkward timetable. Given the shortness of our terms as well, is one really necessary?
At the end of the day, you’re either committed to your studies or you’re a serial binge drinker (i.e. regular student). Perhaps it’s just about finding a happy medium, and making reading week open to a broader range of subjects.