Reading period. The time designated for students to supposedly study for their midterms, although they are usually over before reading period starts, which is quite confusing. If midterms are before reading period then what are you supposed to be reading during this period? I do not have all the answers for everyone, but I do have some suggestions after coming back to Lawrence with a fresh post-reading-period perspective.
Get out. Leave this place. Do not just squeeze out of the Lawrence bubble for a few hours – pop the bubble with a giant needle, and then get as far away as possible before it reforms and sneaks up on you. I had found myself stuck in the day to day shuffle of this campus for quite a while, and by sixth week it had gotten to the point where even little outings to the thrift store could not lift the weight Lawrence had put upon me with impending registration, meetings, club events, endless homework everywhere and people who needed my time that I did not have. But I had plans – marvelous wonderful plans that involved departure to far away places, luxurious spending of money I kind of had, and lots of unplanned parts that were somewhat important, like where I would be crashing. And this is what was able to bring my sanity back, as well as my will to come freely back to this place of no free time ever and still find happiness.
So, for me, leaving Lawrence is the best option to spend my reading period. You may point out the lack of reading in my reading period, or that I am not really doing anything remotely productive, like catching up on classwork and clubs and, oh God, maybe even tackling answering those 600 unopened emails, which all are fair points, but that is what makes reading period a perfect time to escape. Staying in this dismal place one more hour on Thursday would surely have brought my demise, for I was quite a stressed out and frazzled cookie. But I went to a big city, saw new sites very, very different from Appleton, went to a different campus much larger than ours and saw old and new friends. And I made friends! And that was healing on so many levels for me that I did not even comprehend until I pulled up under the bridge and saw the nipple of knowledge and did not feel a sinking feeling in my chest. I am rejuvenated, full of fresh air and somewhat painful sunburn and fun adventures and new memories. Maybe reading period means lots of studious activities for you, like planning study groups and knitting sweaters and admiring the humidity throughout various campus buildings, but if you are someone who has found a sudden weight in attending this college – not necessarily a dislike for this place, but just a certain amount of stress that now impedes your ability to enjoy each bright moment in a day and maybe even laugh a little – then please know leaving this place for a bit just might be your answer.