How To Have The Best Reading Week (No Vacation Necessary)

by Danielle Del Vicario

As you drag yourself to the library to study for yet another midterm, you daydream about a week of no exams and no deadlines. Thankfully, reading week is fast approaching. You’ve picked out your next big Netflix binge, you’re ready to sleep-in every day, and—if you’re a little OCD like me—you can’t wait to give your student room that deep clean it so desperately needs. But this year, why not try something different? I’m certainly not advocating that you use reading week to actually study. Take this little piece of free time to reconnect with yourself and the people around you. You don’t need to spend money or go far (though this is the year for great ski holidays if that’s the way you ride). Follow the suggestions below for cheap and easy refreshers to put you back in the right headspace for another hard push to the end of the semester.

how to have the best reading week no vacation necessary


Actually read (but not something for class). For one week, put down your phone and laptop over breakfast and devote yourself fully to a good book. Choose something short that you can finish with just an hour of reading per day for a week. I like to go back to old favourites like Michael Ondatje’s In the Skin of a Lion or Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Dig into books where each sentence turns back on itself, drawing you in deeper and deeper.


Plan a sunrise picnic with friends. Hear me out. There’s something uniquely calming about a Canadian dawn sky from your favourite trail or park paired with tea, freshly baked muffins and good friends And if you’re anything like me, the thick of term probably saw you wrapped in a bubble of sullen solitude, broken only by the most necessary of human interaction. Borrowing notes counts as human interaction, right? Best of all winter’s sunrise is at an almost reasonable hour. In Vancouver, for example, that means 7:12 am on February 20, the first day of UBC’s reading week. I coincidence I think not.   


Host a DIY cocktail and pizza party. Think all the fun of birthday party pita pizzas with a little more class. Pick up two or three of your favourite spirits, splitting the cost with friends. Tell everyone to bring one cocktail ingredient and one pizza topping. And then let your creativity lead the way. I’m decidedly partial towards gin and currently love a classic G&T with lots of lemon and fresh basil or even Earl Grey martinis, but the internet is full of good cocktail ideas. For easy pizza dough recipes and topping inspiration, see “No-knead for delivery: a guide to homemade pizzas.”