The 5 Stages of Not Doing Any Reading During Reading Week
Reading Week is finally here and you’re probably going to read a grand total of 0.5 books. Because it’s okay to take a break from worrying about all those seminars you missed this semester.
It’ll be fine, right?
The week stretches out in front of you like a glorious eternity. No lectures, no seminars, no setting your alarm for 8am after getting in at 3 and pretending to yourself, as you watch your ceiling spin, that you’re going to get up. This is a week of freedom – a week to do all the things you’ve been meaning to do since the start of term, like visit that famous landmark you’ve not yet seen despite living in this city for over a year, or moving the broken glo-stick that’s been on your desk since Freshers’ and is possibly poisoning you. Reading is the last thing on your mind – you have forever to do it, you don’t need to start right now. You promise your work will be started by at least Wednesday and head optimistically out of the front door.
You’re starting to feel annoyed at the mountain of work that is ruining your precious week of freedom. So far this year you’ve paid (or at least, someone has paid) an obscene amount of money in tuition fees, more money on every book on your reading list (in hardback), and £200 on an optimistic gym membership (plus an additional £17 so you and your housemates could get matching gym bags) – yet here you are with a measly six hours of teaching time a week and now you’re being left to fend for yourself whilst your lecturers have a week off. You have paid to be taught by a professional educator, not a second year who uses bath water to make Super Noodles when the hob is broken.
By Thursday, your vigilante mind set has dwindled and you realise that getting in a sulk is hardly a legitimate reason for failing your degree. But you’ll be ok because it’s only Thursday, so you’ve still got the rest of the day. And then there’s all of Friday, plus the weekend, which isn’t technically part of reading week anyway, so really you’ve got a good four days of studying left, meaning you’ve only technically wasted one day… I mean, what if you’d caught the flu? You could have been ill for a week and not been able to do any work anyway – you couldn’t fail your entire degree just because you got ill once. Loads of people are ill and miss work all the time. In fact, maybe you can get an extension due to your illness? And another thing – you’re doing English, which requires a lot less research than other subjects. You can’t study for English. It’s all subjective anyway, right? Right. Four days is ages. Forever, almost. You should reward your organisational skills with a really quick drink in the SU.
The weekend is here. You can’t go out, because you have too much work to do. You can’t watch TV, because you have too much work to do. You can’t make any good food because the hob is broken, so you sit in your duvet, forlornly eating bathwater Super Noodles and letting yourself be sucked into a Wikipedia black hole of serial killers. You look at the clock and realise you’ve spent an hour reading about Ted Bundy and have not even read one page of The French Lieutenant’s Woman. You won’t be able to read it in time now anyway, so you illegally stream the film version instead and hope for the best. Too late you realise that the book probably doesn’t have a layered plotline involving Meryl Streep having an affair whilst acting in a film of The French Lieutenant’s Woman and you switch it off, taking the most shameful and humiliating steps a student can take and heading to SparkNotes.com, feeling like a failure and a phony.
It’s Sunday night. You have done approximately nothing. The glo-stick is still sitting on your floor emanating toxic fumes, Strongbow cans are still overflowing from your bin, and there is now a three-foot ceramic cat you somehow stole from the SU bar on Friday night looking at you in shame. No more can be done – the damage is final. There’s no point in worrying about it now so you stop watching Slow Loris Eats Riceball on YouTube and head downstairs where your housemates are huddled together, eating lukewarm Super Noodles with their arms open, inviting you into their communal circle of failure.