Reading Week: More Than a Time To Catch Up on School
How can we slow down in a world of “catch-up”?
By Lindsay Liu, Staff Writer
Reading week is typically a much anticipated time of the semester for students, whether it is through providing a much-needed respite from the endless grind of studies, catching up on work, or simply slowing down our pace to focus on other aspects of our life as well as our mental health, which can be often overlooked in the midst of university life.
Reading week at Trinity College allowed some students to shift their focus away from studying and towards hobbies, on top of reconnecting with friends and family back home. Students at Trinity College engage in a wide variety of pursuits, from watching anime to practicing an instrument to organizing impromptu ski trips to Montreal and Mont Tremblant. Many students from outside of Toronto, particularly international students, took advantage of the opportunity to explore more of Toronto, visiting popular attractions such as the CN Tower, Casa Loma, the Distillery District, and the Royal Ontario Museum, among others. Some also focused their attention on eating their way through Toronto, with one hungry student determined to visit as many food trucks as possible during the week. As one student aptly described, it seems reading week provided many an excellent opportunity to “detox.”
Those who were able to make impromptu trips to Montreal, on the other hand, were in the minority. By far, the most popular response regarding reading week plans was to use the reading week for what many believed is its “intended” purpose: reading and studying. The purpose of reading week was debated among students, with some particularly dedicated students claiming that it is “not a vacation.” Indeed, for many who spent most of their time in various libraries, “taking a vacation” was not an option due to tremendous workloads and the burden of midterms waiting for them at the end of the week. Such students expressed their frustrations dryly, noting that the majority of their midterms and important assignments were due right after reading week. And while it doesn’t seem unusual for students to use the reading week to catch up on their work – and, well, reading – I was more concerned about the number of students who were forced to use the week as a catch-up period to attend to their neglected health or sleep deprivation. Even though the week is a great time to direct more focus to health, I would hope for students to try not to neglect their health until a certain point in time. Regardless of what students did, however, there was a general consensus that the week seemed to pass in the “blink of an eye.”
If you’re among the population of students who didn’t go out much during reading week, you’re not alone! I, like many others, felt guilty at first for not jam-packing my week with non-stop studying and events. It’s easy to get swept up and overwhelmed when hearing about other people’s extensive studying and social plans, but taking the time to slow down in a catch-up week to focus on yourself is equally important. It’s not a competition. Students who stayed at Trinity over the reading week appreciated the calmer atmosphere and opportunities to reflect.
For those who did not enjoy the reading week for various reasons, including “boredom” or being “thrown off their routine,” there were a plethora of great events provided by Trinity College and throughout Toronto to help students alleviate their ennui or reset their schedule. Through the fortrinstudents Instagram page, Trinity Mental Health Peer Advisors shared excellent activities and opportunities for students to explore, ranging from free Canadian operas to exploring Black-owned Toronto marketplaces. These resources are great to check out all throughout the semester if you’re looking for something to do.
Trinity College students spend their reading week participating in a variety of activities, but there is no ‘right’ way or purpose to reading week. Regardless, the week seemed to be overall beneficial in assisting students in preparation for the second half of the semester.