The unexpected joys of Reading Period

For most Yalies, the end of the semester is a flurry of final papers, projects, and exams. It’s honestly one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year for me, as I am juggling finals for all my classes that happen within a few days of each other. Thankfully, Yale has Reading Period, which is a buffer of almost a week between the end of classes and when finals are due. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, Reading Period gives us some much-needed time to complete it (learn more about Reading Period in this blog post!).

As you might imagine, my Reading Period experience has never been very relaxing. It’s more like pushing through the last few miles of a race to the finish line. This semester, however, things felt a bit different. It was still wildly busy, to be sure. But I found some unexpectedly bright moments that made me appreciate Reading Period beyond its purpose as a time buffer.

Reading Period is a literally brighter experience in comparison to the preceding month of classes. I was able to do a lot of my work during the day when I would normally be in class. Each morning, I settled into a library nook right next to a window, where I got full sunlight for several hours. It can be hard to get that much daylight when I’m in class, and I found that all the natural light energized me and gave me a major mood boost.

Sunlight was streaming through the window all day while I worked!

I also got the chance to spend time with friends I wasn’t able to see as often during the semester because of schedule differences. Since practically everyone is studying, it was super easy to meet up with friends for study dates (and study breaks). Even though we were working, I still enjoyed spending time with people who I didn’t get to see nearly as often as I would’ve hoped. Plus, work is easier to do when you know you’re not alone :)

Finally, I gained an even greater appreciation for the beauty of Sterling Library, which I hardly thought possible after 3 years of admiring it. I explored the nooks and crannies of several different reading rooms, from the ornate Slavic Reading Room to the cozy Egyptology Reading Room. Despite looming deadlines, I felt peaceful among the stained glass windows and endless amounts of weird and wonderful books bursting out of the shelves. During my quick brain breaks in the library Nave, I noticed a new stone carving or painting nearly everywhere I looked. I felt so much gratitude for being able to study in such a beautiful space.

Stained glass detailing in the Slavic Reading room and my workspot in the Egyptology room

Speaking of gratitude, that’s the word I think of the most as I’m coming away from my second-to-last Reading Period. (I’m definitely turning into a sentimental senior!) Although Reading Period was far from easy, my appreciation for the people and places that have shaped my Yale experience made the journey much more joyful.