It’s Okay if You Didn’t Have a “Successful” Reading Break

Image by Lina Kivaka via Pexels

So it’s back to work already? It never feels like enough time. Sitting on campus on February 14th a couple of weeks ago, I told myself that if I could just make it through my Anthropology midterm, I’d have a full week to catch my breath. 

At that moment, with a vast expanse of time off ahead of me, I made a mental checklist: I’d wash my car, catch up on laundry, and finish every one of the readings for the next six weeks of classes. I’d write a rough draft for my assignments so they’d be primed for office hours the first week back, and I’d get my sleep schedule back on track, so I would be ready for the remaining early mornings ahead of me.

Over a week later, I sit here, on the silent floor of the library, with work piling up around me, knowing that I did not do a single one of those things. And that’s okay. 

First of all, it was extremely unrealistic to expect I’d be able to do that much work in what is also supposed to be a time of relaxation. The other half of the reading break is BREAK and that, my friends, is something I definitely accomplished. 

So maybe I didn’t wake up with the birds at 6 am every morning and get a head start on the day, studying and reading and revising for hours upon hours. But for the first time since Winter break, I got a full, uninterrupted sleep. I woke up when I wanted to. And between commuting to campus, going to classes, doing homework, and working a part-time job, this was the best treat I could ask for. To be honest, this is the thing I needed the most. 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I didn’t do nearly the amount of readings I said I would do — instead, I connected with friends I haven’t seen in weeks, visited some of my old favourite teachers, caught up on Netflix, and perfected my very own iced coffee recipe. Plus, the weather was beautiful — sunny for the first time in weeks! How could I stay inside with a textbook for a straight week when it finally stopped raining? 

Sure, I did the bare minimum to prepare for the remaining weeks of the semester — doing the reading and quizzes for the week ahead of me Sunday afternoon after 4 pm — but I’ve accepted that fact. 

The point is, I found ways to be productive with my break that did not include reading. Mental health, sleep, social connections, even a little relaxation — these are all vital things to take care of as well as grades during the semester. So if you’re like me, walking out of reading break with much less checked off your list than you originally budgeted, don’t beat yourself up. 

Sometimes, there’s a difference between procrastination and just needing a couple of days off. We need to take care of ourselves first in order to be successful in our courses. Good luck with the rest of the semester! 

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