Dear students with and without a reading week



Ollie Smith argues a reading week is beneficial for student life

I need and value my Reading Week and I think we should all have one. It’s a chance to catch up on the things we put aside for our social lives, a chance to meet loved ones, do something fun with friends or have a deserved week off.

Reading Week is important to all of us who have it. This isn’t just a case of reading itself but the chance to get on top of things, especially considering how difficult it can sometimes be to manage workload with social life and other interests.

Reading Week allowed me time to breath, catch up on my work, experience some culture and have some fun as well

My own Reading Week was a bit busier than usual. I took the opportunity to get some work experience and managed to secure some in the Parliamentary Office of the MP Hilary Benn. Given how much I love that part of London this was something of a dream week for me. Not only did I get to free roam round Parliament and experience its history, meet well-known politicians and do some genuinely enjoyable work, but was also able to explore one of the most vibrant parts of London and go on something of a cultural odyssey.

Between working I would walk the landmarks of Trafalgar and Leicester Square, explore Piccadilly at night, did some soul searching in the National Gallery and saw an amazing production of Wicked (£90 off with my student card!). I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my best friends just happened to be there too so we met up for drinks (or rather just drink with London prices).

Epigram/Ollie Smith

I somehow found time to do all my reading as well. I found in the weeks prior I had to put lecture reading aside to concentrate on my essay or had social commitments like drama. Reading Week allowed me time to breath, catch up on my work, experience some culture and have some fun as well.

For the Fresher in their first term University can be overwhelming; the chance to go home can be a welcome breather. In my first term I chose to stay to explore the city and socialise. I have friends who went home to rest or visit family, others who did absolutely nothing and never left their rooms and one who fitted in a trip round the country.

To say Reading Week is a waste of time and money would be simply untrue

I messaged a Law friend at the end of my Reading Week to ask how theirs had been. I got a sad reaction, not knowing Law have one at the end of term. This seems odd to me: why not have it mid-term when students need the break to refresh? I had this last year when my second term Reading Week was right after January exams; it would have been much nicer to have it later as I wasn’t long back from the Christmas holidays.

To say Reading Week is a waste of time and money would be simply untrue. Yes students rightly complain about low contact hours, but with the kind of self-directed learning Arts subjects in particular push for that involves a lot of readings a week off is necessary to get the most from them.

If someone does nothing in Reading Week that is their choice; it’s their education and their money. Subjects like Biology have started to bring in Reading Week this year after pressure from students so is clearly wanted.

Reading Week is healthy for student life; it relieves work stress and gives you the time you need. All subjects should have a Reading Week and one midway through term when they benefit us the most. We need Reading Week and I am glad to have it.

Featured image: Epigram/Ollie Smith

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Ollie Smith

Features Editor 2018-19 I Online Features Editor 2017-18 I Host and Founder of The Epigram Show on Wednesdays at 10am on BURST Radio