Observant students doing humanities subjects (English, History, Languages and the like) may have a noticed a mysterious gap in their timetables this month. No, it’s not a caffeine-induced hallucination – at many universities you really do get a week off in the middle of term for ‘reading’.
Sadly, all you scientists and mathematicians out there will just have to keep on truckin’ until Christmas, but if you are lucky enough to have reading week coming up, here are a few suggestions for how to make the most of it.
1. Get ahead
As the name suggests, reading week is indeed a great time to catch up on your reading. Without the distraction of lectures and seminars to go to, you can really get stuck into that pile of books – and if you set yourself up with a big mug of tea and a pack of biscuits you’ll be amazed how much you can get through.
Chances are you’ll have essays to hand in or exams to sit at the end of term, so be savvy and use this free week to get cracking on your coursework. Staying up all night desperately necking cans of coke as you try to knock out 2,000 words before 9am is one student stereotype that definitely isn’t any fun. Take your time and you’ll do yourself proud – and maybe even enjoy it!
2. Visit home
What with Freshers’ Week, settling into your course and getting to know your flatmates, you may not have rang home in awhile, let alone visited! You’re more or less half way through your first term now – as good a time as any to take some time out and catch up with your family, guinea pigs and mates from school.
Starting uni is a really exciting time in your life, but it’s also pretty intense. Hopefully you’ve been having a brilliant time making new friends and settling in, but until you crash on the family sofa you may not realise just how tired you are. A few sessions of watching rubbish on TV, chilling with the cat and having someone else cook you tea may be just the break you need.
And of course everyone back home will be really pleased to see you. We all mean to text our friends back home and ring the parents every Sunday, but it doesn’t always happen. Reading week is a great chance to check in with all the people you care about.
3. Explore the city
If you don’t feel like going home just yet, you could use part of your reading week to get to know your new city even better. By now you probably know about all the main student bars, and might have looked around some of the better-known shops, but there’s still a whole host of amazing stuff for you to uncover.
Students living in Bristol should definitely check out the amazing Banksy street art. Hunting down his work yourself will take you to new parts of the city, and getting lost is all part of the fun.
In Edinburgh why not get your trainers on and get down to Holyrood Park to climb Arthur’s Seat? This wonderfully wild park is located right in the middle of the city, offering a retreat from the busy streets. At 251m above sea level, Arthur’s Seat is the highest point the park, and if you make the scramble to the top you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views.
Meanwhile in St Andrews you could check out some of the city’s quirkier museums, such as the Preservation Trust Museum’s recreation of historic shops and buildings, complete with sinister figures. Or look at cute penguins and weird sea creatures at the Aquarium, which should be mercifully kid-free if you go midweek.
If you’re based in Liverpool, get arty with a saunter down Lark Lane. This independently-spirited area has some amazing second-hand shops, as well as plenty of great bars and cafes. For veggies, we heartily recommend the Greendays cooked breakfast!
And if you’re in London, well you have no excuse – there’s tons of stuff to see here! If you don’t know where to start, why not try the Tate Modern? You never know what will be in the astonishing Turbine Hall, and amongst the permanent exhibits you’ll find famous names like Matisse, Rothko and Warhol. The gift shop has some great bits and bobs to jazz up your room too.
4. Have some me-time
At the start of term everyone is in super-sociable mode. This is brilliant fun for awhile, but eventually everyone needs a bit of time to themselves. Reading week is perfect for a bit of me-time. With your flatmates away or stuck in lectures (poor things) you’re free to slum around in your PJs watching daytime TV, get lost in your favourite music and having antisocially long showers.
Much like going home for the week but without the train journey, a little time to yourself will leave you rejuvenated and ready to party in the run up to Christmas.
5. Flatmate Come Dine with Me
With term in full swing you may have started to resort to boring noodles or pasta every night. If everyone in your flat is off, you can cheer up your taste buds with a Come Dine with Me-style cooking challenge.
With a whole day to cook, you can attempt something a bit crazy and pick up some ace cooking skills along the way. And the rest of the week you’ve got an exciting mystery tea to look forward to each night. Just don’t get too competitive about the scoring….
Whether you’re revising, hanging out with your flatmates or off exploring your new city, Student Housing Company accommodation is the perfect base for your university life. Find out about our brilliant accommodation across the country, and keep reading our blog for more top advice.