Problems With Reading Week

Dear Editor,

I have a little bit of a problem with reading week. To be honest, the idea of giving the entire student body a week off to “read” is excellent. Whoever came up with it should get a medal. No, seriously. Especially considering that it falls nicely in the middle of “hell week”. Midterms, assignments, presentations, etc. What better way to alleviate the stress than to take a week off and… read?

Therein lies the problem. Seriously, who actually does anything remotely related to reading during this most wonderful of weeks? Having just finished a boatload of assignments and presentations, I’m given five days (seven if you count the weekends) off, and I’m expected to do even more work. It’s a bit of a tease, if you ask me. I feel kind of like an oversized rabbit with a carrot dangling two feet in front of my face — and I’ve been placed on a treadmill. So basically, I’m getting nowhere with this “reading” that they speak of.

Its all about prioritization, I suppose. But even then, I must be terrible at that too. My reading week usually starts with a couple of big decisions. You know, things like which parties to attend, which clubs to visit downtown, and of course, domestic beers or imports? It doesn’t help, either, that as a full time student, and part time employee, the current economic crisis affords me precisely one shift a week. And I don’t get paid until next week. Its amazing how hard it is to stretch a dollar over an entire week.

But I digress, its not all about the partying. There is also the perfect chance to get a little bit of exercise in as well. And what better way to do that then barrelling down a snow covered hill with my feet strapped to a snowboard. Honestly, how could I be expected to do any reading with such perfect boarding weather? Instead of sharpening my pencil, I only want to sharpen my edges, and carve into some powder.

Reading week is a cruel joke. I, and probably each and every student, told myself on the first day of the break that I would get through so many chapters, and finish this many assignments. The reality of it is that without the kick in the pants of having to wake up early for class, or the constant reminder of what’s due, and how many pages to write, nothing actually gets done.

Reading week is like a fantasy that doesn’t quite make it to reality. We all know that we should be doing schoolwork, but we can’t neglect our social lives either. And as the days pass by, one drunken pub crawl at a time, the fantasy comes crashing down with the realization that I have a midterm on Monday that I’ve yet to prepare for. School resumes like nothing ever happened. Those pages that we were supposed to read for class on Tuesday remain unread. That assignment that’s due on Wednesday gets nudged back up to the top of the to-do list. The group meeting for the presentation on Thursday never happened. And Friday might just as well be a write-off.

So here I sit, sore from multiple wipe-outs on my snowboard (hey, I only picked up the sport this year), working through a hangover from an amazing party last night, and squinting at the computer screen and trying to stay awake as I study for an examination that will surely leave me in the dust.

So why do they even call it reading week when they know that we’re probably going to do everything but reading? I reiterate my previous statement. Reading week is a cruel joke.


Mark Shannon

VCC Specialist

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