Reading Week

Last week was reading week (or independent study week if you want to be official about it). There were no classes on during this week, I guess it’s kind of the university equivalent of a half term, although, to my knowledge, not all courses offer it. If you choose to study English Literature like I do, you’ll definitely get a reading week. This is because the course is (surprise surprise) extremely heavy on the reading side. As well as powering through books, reading week  also offers the chance to get through any essays that have deadlines looming.

I used my reading week as an opportunity to go home to Kent (accompanied by all my books, of course). It was great to see my family again because I haven’t seen them since the start of January.  As excited as I was to be home, I very quickly started missing Ormskirk. There’s nothing quite like living with friends and the freedom that moving out gives you. On the other hand, I was more than happy to go back to home-cooked meals and a fully stocked fridge.

This week has got me thinking about when I first moved out. As difficult as it can be initially settling in to life away from home, I have certainly become accustomed to university life. ‘Normal’ life seems really odd now. When I think back to all the fears I had about going to university, even the little ones like sharing a bathroom, I realise now that I was worrying for nothing. I’m not saying that it’s not scary at all, and everyone is different, but for me, adjusting to university living was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

If anyone has any questions about anything to do with university (even tiny, silly ones) please feel free to ask me in the comments below.

Why Independent Study Weeks Aren’t Just ‘Weeks Off’

Last week was an Independent Study Week. During and Independent Study Week no lectures or seminars are held and students are encouraged to spend their time catching up with work and spending time on essays and assignments.

At the beginning of the week I wrote a list of all the work that I needed to complete. The list included: A 1500 word critical appraisal, a first draft of a ten minute radio play, a first draft of a 750 word short story, and typing up all my notes from the past few weeks.

True to form I wasted the first couple of days, regularly reassuring myself I had plenty of time to get everything done. By the time I finally stopped being lazy and tried to do some work I was no longer confident that I could get all my work finished in time. Fortunately, I managed to put in some serious hours and eventually most of my work was finished, but I couldn’t help wishing that I’d started earlier and had time to step away from my writing and come back with a fresh pair of eyes.

Study Weeks can deceptively feel like breaks from the everyday hard work that attending lectures and seminars involves. When not used wisely they can seem like a holiday, but can just lead to an unbearable work load at the end of the week when everything needs to be done at once.

Time management is key; when assignments are worked on at set times it is much easier to find time for leisure.  As a reward for having finished all my work I went to visit my friend in Leicester for her birthday, as she lives in student accommodation and was having a house party. It was a great way to relax before starting back at university and a great way to finish off the Independent Study Week.