Written by Isabelle Osbourne, Third year BA English

Reading week is upon us, perhaps a welcomed break within what is often a hectic and overwhelming term. 

Wondering how you can make it a productive and relaxing time? Read on for ways you can enjoy reading week whilst also getting the most out of it...

Get on top of university work and assignments 

When you haven't got the distraction of lectures and seminars, you have more time to focus on independent work; reading week is therefore the perfect time to play catch up. 

If you have any outstanding lectures to watch, essays to prepare or deadlines to meet, invest some time during the week to get on top of these tasks. Ticking these tasks off your to-do list will ensure you feel prepared going into the next part of term, and you won’t be behind on work.

Even if your deadlines are in the distant future, you may wish to consider preparing in advance, such as writing a brief essay plan or noting down some ideas for an assignment. And, of course, if your degree is reading-intensive, schedule some time to get ahead with the reading material too.

Take a break

That being said, reading week is also a time to rest and rejuvenate. Remember when the half term break came around when you were at school, a holiday that was a time to relax, take time away from your work and recuperate after a busy term? Reading week is no different, even though it comes under a name that implies we should be working. 

Rather than sticking to a strict routine, use the week to catch up on sleep, do the things you wish you had time to do in the term, and make sure you’re finding time to rest; you can still have a productive week without working every hour of the day. Read a book for fun, watch your favourite movies, visit a museum or go for a day trip - whatever helps take your mind off university.

Or even join a Project Active session, most of which can be done from home, or in-person if you're coming in.

Sport
Project Active Dynamic Pilates - Women Only
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Dynamic Pilates is a higher tempo version of Pilates that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. Pilates emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. The class is beginner friendly and open to all fitness levels. Equipment: Pilates mat or towel. Instructor: Kirty Mody
Sport
Project Active Dynamic Pilates - Women Only
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Dynamic Pilates is a higher tempo version of Pilates that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. Pilates emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. The class is beginner friendly and open to all fitness levels. Equipment: All equipment will be provided at the class.Location: Rehearsal Room, 1st Floor Bloomsbury Theatre,…
Sport
Project Active Dance Fit
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Dance Fit begins with full body warmup followed by arm and leg conditioning. The class then utilizes simple choreography in a series of fast-paced aerobic dances to get your body going. In this class you will also get stuck into some challenging floor work for hips, thighs, buns, and abs. The class is beginner friendly and open to all fitness levels. Equipment: A water bottle to stay hydrated. 

Spend time with friends and family

With multiple deadlines, extensive reading lists and extra-curricular commitments, term time is a little too busy to be able to spend enough time with friends and family. Use the free time this week to plan exciting things with the people you love. 

You may wish to travel home for reading week and visit your family, or stay in London with your UCL friends and flatmates. Whichever you decide, plan a few day trips out, schedule a movie marathon, and spend some quality time with those around you.

Prepare and organise

During term, you may find you lose track of papers, books and other learning material. Maybe you need to give some books back to the library, or take a trip to Waterstones to buy some new ones for the next half term. Use reading week to organise and prepare for the next few weeks: put loose sheets into folders, re-organise your laptop desktop so your files are sorted into folders, tidy the books away and check new ones out of the library, and top up your stationary materials.

You could also spend some time organising your living space. Perhaps you’re a few weeks behind on the cleaning, or there’s linen and towels to be washed. Getting these chores done whilst you have the time will make your term much smoother; listen to a podcast or audiobook whilst you’re doing it, so it makes it more fun! It’s also coming up to Christmas, so why not take some time to plan your festive period, buy gifts for friends and family, and write some Christmas cards?

Explore London

There's loads of things to do around London this week. You can go to Go Ape, go to an immersive art show, mini-golf, paintballing, escape rooms or enjoy some of the special things going on in London this week.

And check out our What's On Calendar

...for society events, plus other events from the Union and around UCL.

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There’s plenty of ways to use your reading weekly wisely, but do ensure you take the time to rest and relax so you’re ready to get back into the swing of term.