The past two months have been quite a journey between getting involved in school, getting back into the swing of things (or for some, adjusting to the first year of university!) and studying for midterms, but now some down-time is coming up: Fall Reading Days! To help students catch up with assignments and take a well-deserved study break, there are no classes from October 26 to 29, which means more time for yourself. It’s tempting to simply sit back and relax, but it’s also important to make the most out of the break so you don’t fall behind when school resumes. In other words, Fall Reading Days are a balancing act as you juggle a well-deserved break with being productive. As a self-proclaimed “pro-juggler,” here’s my advice on making the most out of
Fall Reading Days.
If you ask me what I want to do during Reading Days, I would tell you that I want to finish the book I started reading in September (to all my curious bookworms, check out “Fierce Kingdom” by Gin Phillips) or spend a day out and about in Toronto. As you may notice, school is not necessarily at the top of my to-do list. This is why it is important to plan ahead in order to make time for school and yourself (and make sure that you don’t fall behind when school starts again!). Before you dive right into planning mode, make a list of goals you want to accomplish following the SMART framework. It’s a great guide for goal setting and ensuring your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (notice what the SMART acronym stands for?). Following that, create a schedule outlining what you plan to do each day, keeping your SMART goals in mind. If you want to improve your time management skills, take a look at our past YU Blog post, “Time Management Tips for York U Students.”
Don’t Forget about School
As much as Reading Days are a break from school, they are an opportunity to catch up and get ahead of your studies. It pains me to say it, but I have two assignments due right when school resumes, both worth 25% of my overall grade. If you haven’t already done so, write down the important deadlines for all of your courses and make sure to review them so that you aren’t caught off-guard! Whether you need to study for a test or write an essay, you can make the task more manageable and less stressful by breaking down the job into small steps. Study a little bit each day and start researching your essay topics ahead of time so that you don’t have to do it all the night before!
Catch Up on the Old To-Do List
As soon as school starts, the readings, papers and assignments pile on quickly. Not surprisingly, school becomes your first priority, which means your to-do list begins to get longer and longer, and eventually, tucked away at the back of your mind. Reading Days are the perfect time to tackle the errands you’ve (almost) forgotten about. Go for the haircut, clean up your workspace and schedule that eye doctor appointment. It’s better to do things sooner rather than later so you can have a load off your mind when you get back to studying.
You probably already have a list of fun things you want to do during Reading Days (I know I do!) but for those of you who are still making last-minute plans, here are a few cool events you can check out:
- International Festival of Authors (Oct 19-29) – Bringing together writers of contemporary world literature for book signings and author readings at the Harbourfront Centre.
- Art Toronto (Oct 27-30) – Canada’s international contemporary and modern art fair takes over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
- Monster Dash (Oct 29) – A family-friendly Halloween run with 100% of pledges supporting the Ontario Science Centre’s Community Access Programs.
- Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market (Oct 29) – Enjoy a stroll celebrating the Kensington Market neighbourhood with performers, food vendors and musicians.
How will you be making the most out of your reading days? Comment below or tweet us on Twitter at @YorkUStudents.