With Reading Period underway, now is a good time to reflect on how we can make the most of it. First of all, Lawrentians are very lucky to have a midterm break at all. Most schools have a reading period before finals, but very few have one around midterms. Lawrence is, fortunately, a rarity in this case. Reading Period is a rare counterpoint to Lawrence’s culture of toxic productivity. During Reading Period, students can catch up on work, explore career opportunities, get off campus or simply relax. Regardless of how it is spent, it is wonderful that Reading Period exists.
While most Lawrentians cannot wait for Reading Period, this was not always the case. Staff Editorials from around 2000 reveal that the prevailing campus opinion was that it lacked educational value and constricted the already short terms. This might have been because Lawrentians idealized the grind, or because they had not yet experienced the comforts of Reading Period. Most would now agree, however, that there are numerous ways Reading Period can benefit your term.
Most intuitively, Reading Period helps those who need extra time for schoolwork. One of the most common criticisms on the trimester system is that if you fall behind on your coursework, it can be extremely difficult to recover in time for finals. Reading Period gives students an edge on these high stakes as an indispensable opportunity to review course materials or get a head start on major projects.
If your early term wanderlust was thwarted by a lack of free time, the long weekend is the perfect time to get off campus. There are multiple resources on campus to help students pursue this. The Center for Career, Life and Community Engagement, for example, frequently organizes trips for students to scout out job and internship opportunities. Just this Fall Term, it hosted “Business Trek to Chicago,” as well as a job and graduate school fair in Milwaukee. Even without the CCLC, students can develop their careers plans with their extra free time. Some schedule interviews, and others visit prospective graduate schools.
On the more leisurely side of things, Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC) trips are another campus resource for bursting your Lawrence Bubble. Often overlooked, these trips allow students to embark on scenic hikes at a bargain. Most cost around 50 dollars, whereas others are free. If constant studying has given you cabin fever, getting away from civilization could be the ideal way to decompress and bond with others over your love for the outdoors.
If none of the above suggestions appeal to you, remember that doing nothing is also a perfectly valid way to spend your Reading Period. Allowing it to be open lets students go home to see their families or catch up with friends they otherwise could not fit into their packed schedules. Lawrence can be overwhelming, and taking time to recharge is an admirable way to defy the often toxic emphasis on productivity that is ingrained in our campus culture. Often, the best way to ensure you are able to tackle your responsibilities is to approach them well-rested and in good spirits. For this reason, Reading Period is awesome.