University students compare their reading weeks

In the world of a busy student, there is no greater feeling than putting down the books and preparing for a full week away from the chaos of university life.

By Michelle Cameron

In the world of a busy student, there is no greater feeling than putting down the books and preparing for a full week away from the chaos of university life. In the midst of impending midterms and papers over the winter months, students love a short break from it all in order to keep up the motivation for the remainder of the year.

Lauren Hughes, third year student at the University of King’s College, says reading week gives her time to alleviate built up stress and relax at home.

Lauren Hughes, second to the right, enjoying reading week at home with friends and family (Michelle Cameron photo)

“It’s a really stressful time of year because there is a huge build up of school work mid-semester. It feels nice to have a week away to visit my family in Ottawa, catch up on sleep and hang out with my friends at home.”

Hughes remains on a tight budget, which makes it harder to fly home.

“This week really benefits me because it’s long enough a break to justify the payment of flying to Ottawa,” says Hughes.

“When I’m at home I don’t have to worry about buying groceries, doing laundry or cooking meals for myself, I’m really taken care of and it’s great,” says Hughes.

By giving students a week away from the bustling campus and high stress levels of university, the student can regain some sanity. However, not all students used the break to relax. Many caught up on homework.

Casey Lynch, fourth year student at King’s, used his reading week for just that.

Casey Lynch engaging in his studies over reading week (Michelle Cameron photo)

“I was able to clear my mind and focus on my thesis, rather than other classes,” he says. “I also used my time to pick up extra shifts at work to pay my tuition and think about summer jobs and post-graduation.”

Although Lynch spent time serving at a restaurant in downtown Halifax, he also spent lots of time doing schoolwork at local cafes.

“I had no choice but to be productive this break, but it is my last year in Halifax and I love all the great places the city has to offer. It was nice to sit in Paperchase cafe, sip local coffee and because the city is so small, I usually ran into friends.”

The high costs of flying led many students to stay in Halifax for the break.

Annie Flaherty, third year student at Dalhousie University, claims she could better balance work and play by staying in town.

“It was nice to be here because I could fill my days with whatever I want to. I had time to rest, go out at night, and both my roommates were here over the break, so we motivated each other to keep up on our work as well,” says Flaherty.

Nine days away from the campus bubble may seem too short as the break draws to a close. Lynch says, however, “Everybody can use a break for a different reason, but it’s so important to have that time and space to relax, travel or get things done.”

Regardless how you spend your reading week, this mid-semester break provides students with the opportunity to use their time as they see fit. A student can relax, replenish and restore themselves before the time the class doors open once again.

Related audio
Lauren Hughes discusses reading week. 

Lauren Hughes discusses reading week.