Every terrible thing that happens when reading an academic article

If it’s over 40 pages, forget it

As soon as you sit down and stare drowsily at your laptop screen you realise you’re too tired to read a Tab article, never mind an academic one. Staying up ’til 4am playing Cards Against Humanity with the housemates wasn’t the best idea and now you’re suffering for it. Now though you’ve got no choice but to get a cup of tea, or a strong black coffee, or even treat yourself to a nice caramel latte, go to the loo while you’re up and get some snacks to sustain yourself for the mind-numbing task ahead.

Relentless Facebook refreshing

After thinking of every thing you could possibly need, you’re ready. You write the title of the article down in your notes: good job! Now time to check Facebook…

After 20 minutes of scrolling through Facebook memes and and stalking the profile pictures of people you went to school with, you remember…what about Twitter? Or Instagram? God forbid you forget Pinterest. You can’t possibly start reading until EVERYTHING has been checked.

Knuckle down

Right, it’s actually time to start work, and you’re going to do this right. This means detailed notes, and this means copying down the article word for word.

You’re determined to get down as much information as possible because this is going to be the week where everything goes right. You’re going to have all the answers for your tutor: forget domineering Pete, this week you’re going the be the star of the seminar.

Put some bangers on

You’ve knuckled down for an entire three gruelling pages and something is missing, Of course – music. How could you have forgotten? It takes 10 minutes to search for the perfect Spotify playlist – you want to listen to Taylor Swift, but knowing it will be too distracting, settle for simple Acoustic Afternoon.

While you’re at it you might as well have a quick look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Fuck it, why not quickly watch some Taylor Swift music videos as a reward for reading three pages already?


Something you don’t understand crops up and you wonder what the fuck it’s on about. Googling it doesn’t work because the Wikipedia entry isn’t comprehensible either. It’s a complete lost cause, everything was going so well and now it’s ruined.

You stuff your face with Bourbon Biscuits to make yourself feel better. There is only one thing to do – copy and paste the whole section and hope for the best.

Dwell over a meal deal

After that little stress, it’s time to regain strength. True, you’ve been snacking all morning, but lunch is an essential meal of the day and it’s only sensible to take an hour out to dedicate time to it.

Making the most of the break, you catch up on that TV series everyone has been talking about while you eat. You can only hope the other people in the library won’t judge you.


You’ve been reading a good while now. Work loads are piling up, time is disappearing, and you’re bored. So, you express your misery the only way you know how – write a Yak about it.

It wasn’t pie week on bake off, but it was pie week for me

While you’re at it, you check the Hot list. Someone’s complained about a person watching Netflix taking up a seat in the library, so you quickly minimise your internet screen and spend a good couple of minutes looking suspiciously at the people around you.

Admit defeat

The article is really getting tedious. You no longer care about the ability to contribute in your seminar, you just want to get this God-awful article finished so you can play a drinking game to Come Dine With Me with Box-Room Dave.

After realising how long the article is you start skimming it quickly. Fuck it, why not just skip a couple of pages now and again? Or maybe just skip straight to the last page? It can’t all be relevant, can it?


You scan your eyes over the conclusion and you finish. Yes, you’ve done it. The sense of achievement is unreal: a whole 20 pages has been read and it’s only taken you five hours.

You realise another three articles need to be read for the same seminar, but after doing so well on the first one it’s decided the others can be left until the last minute.

It’s time to get to pre-drinks where you can proudly tell everyone there that you’ve “read a whole article today” which is why your night out on the town is well-deserved.