Ask a Fifth-Year: Reading during reading period?

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,

This is my first reading period at Lawrence. Do you have any suggestions for me?

—Flustered Freshman

Well, Flustered, you should definitely not make the mistake of actually reading during reading period. Reading period, that glorious two-day break when Lawrentians are supposed to be productive, works well in theory but is a difficult practice to pull off successfully.

The reading period right before finals can be used to drunkenly study in Mudd mere hours before your test, ensuring an entertaining final even if you don’t pass, but the reading period during midterms is a bit redundant. In my five years at Lawrence, I have yet to take a midterm exam after the midterm reading period.

The placement of this mini-vacation is at an awkward part of the term. If it were moved to a week earlier, it would be too close to summer vacation, and if it were moved to one week later, it would be even more redundant.

Instead of tailoring the midterm exam schedule to the calendar, most professors simply place their exams right before reading period to ensure that their students will waste time and be unproductive.

One shouldn’t actually study during reading period. Like I said, you’ll most likely be done with your exams before it even starts. My freshman year, I spent my reading period watching Pokémon in the Plantz lounge — you’d be amazed at the number of sexual innuendos in that show.

As my freshman year progressed, I matured and did more important things with my reading period. Instead of squandering my winter reading period with children’s television, I squandered it with hours of The X-Files in the Plantz lounge once again.

Maybe you’d rather do something besides watch television all break. I can’t understand why on earth you wouldn’t be excited about the exploits of Mulder and Scully.

You could also visit home for a few days. It’s only been a few weeks since summer break, and you’re going to be home for winter break in an equally short amount of time, but it was only a suggestion. I personally wouldn’t take my own advice on this one, but I have a reason.

You won’t find me drifting from campus during any reading period. On top of being an ancient fifth year, I’m also what is known as a “townie.” I was born two miles west of campus in St. Elizabeth, went to school five miles east of here and live in an old school house in the middle of farm country seven miles south of Lawrence.

Leaving the exotic confines of Lawrence to make an intrepid journey to my homeland would not be nearly as eventful as another student’s experience.

Since it’s that time of the year, you could use this break to perfect your Halloween costume. I could go into detail on what I’m doing, but that’s a story for another day. And by story, I mean column. And by day, I mean next week. What I’m trying to say is tune in next week, same Jacob Horn time, same Jacob Horn channel, for an exciting column on Halloween costume ideas.

Once again, if there’s anything you’d like to have me rant and rave and ridicule, simply send a topic my way at