What is Reading Period, Really?

Nick Young looking quite confused.

You know that stretch of days between Christmas and New Years where you’re not really sure what day it is? It’s a week outside of time — could be Thursday the 27th, could be Sunday the 29th. Who knows? Reading period is kind of like that time, only actually useful.

After the last day of classes, instead of going straight into finals, you have about a week or so (this fall it was six days) to prepare for your exams and begin to write your papers. Speaking from personal experience, I’m not sure that my finals would get done if I didn’t have this time to take a pause before jumping into a whirlwind of exams and deadlines. Plus, it’s a really great time for you to relax and decompress as you get ready for that last push. Rather than keep singing reading week’s praises, maybe it would be more useful for me to walk you through what I did each day.


I set my alarm and woke up early to watch France take down England in the World Cup semifinal. I also had one of my final papers due that day, so I finished up my final draft, gave it a readthrough, and submitted it. Then, my friend was throwing a small get-together at her apartment, so I put on an ugly sweater and made the trek across campus.


I’m gonna be honest… not really sure what I did Sunday. Definitely slept in and watched some TV. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.


I set an early (11 AM) alarm for lunch with a first-year regarding his interest in my major. Afterwards, I started studying for my two statistics exams that I’d be taking the following Monday. However, my friends decided to go go-karting, so not much studying got done after dinner. But, I made it onto the leaderboard for that week’s fastest times (19th, but still), so I’d say it was a good use of a night.

Our go-karting profiles.


Recovering from some neck soreness (courtesy of one of my friend’s subpar driving skills), I met one of my first year professors on Cross Campus to chat and catch up — it had been almost three years, so we had a lot to cover! I then raced home to watch Argentina edge out Croatia to advance to the World Cup semifinals. I did a bit of studying for my exams, but after dinner I used my “injury” as an excuse to lay in bed and finish The Sopranos.


I met up with two former professors, again to catch up (peep the callback to my previous post on building relationships with your professors). However, I had too much fun in my last meeting and stayed a bit over, so I missed the first couple of minutes of the France v. Morocco match. Of course, France managed to score in those couple of minutes, and the rest of the game (unfortunately) didn’t go Morocco’s way. After an appropriately long mourning period, I started working on a note sheet for one of my exams, spending most of the time making sure that I would be able to read my own handwriting when the time came. 

My note sheet for one of my finals.
Proof that I did SOMETHING over reading period.


Having finished The Sopranos, I started Abbott Elementary over lunch — I highly recommend it! I took practice exams for both of my finals so I could get a feel for any gaps I’d need to fill before the actual finals in a few days’ time. To celebrate the end of Reading Period, I ordered some McDonalds and relaxed for the rest of the night.

Hopefully this all gives you a decent sense of what Reading Period is for — you’ll notice that I actually didn’t spend most of my time working. If you budget your time effectively, it can be a really great time to get some work done, sure, but also to recharge your batteries. It’s a shame that I only have one more left.