BY HAYLEY SMITH
Reading week is when students are given five days to catch up on studies, and prepare for the rest of the term. However, many use the time to enjoy a break from school.
What seems to be the most difficult thing for students is finding that balance between school work and mental health care. A survey last year at Queen’s University in Kingston showed 4 per cent of students said they had thought about suicide the previous term and 10 per cent had considered it at some point. This study shows how crucial the health and wellness of students are, and how important it is to have this week to take a break from scheduled classes, and have students be able to work at their own pace.
This is not to say that students shouldn’t focus on readings, assignments and studying for midterms. It is important to stay on schedule and not fall behind. However, there are ways to keep up with homework that don’t require you to be in a stressful environment. Claire Robinson, a second-year Sheridan student studying Business Administration, always finds ways to work on assignments outside of home.
“When I feel overwhelmed with assignments, one of the most calming things for me to do is head over to a coffee shop. It allows me to get out of the house, and enjoy a drink and a snack. Sometimes being in an environment outside my bedroom allows me to focus better,” says Robinson.
Once you feel confident about your studies, it is time to take the rest of the week to relish the break. Luke Carenza, a first-year Sheridan student in the Child and Youth Care program explains the importance of self care.
“I think it’s really important for students to take some personal time during reading week because school can be really stressful and anxiety provoking. We should still give it some attention, but other things are more important like our mental health and relationships with people we care about,” says Carenza.
Perhaps you are an international student who is unfamiliar with the GTA, or simply have not made plans for this upcoming reading week, there are a ton of ideas close by to enjoy and unwind:
Do some unusual activities
It is important to have fun on reading week. If you are on social media, you have probably heard of escape rooms or rage rooms. Both are unusual activities that appear to be highly entertaining. At the Rage Room you pay to go into a room and break stuff. It is a good way to let off some steam.
With Halloween just around the corner, there are some free events taking place across the GTA, including 6ix Screams International Horror Film Festival. Websites like BlogTo provide event calendars with different types of events happening almost daily.
Explore downtown Toronto
Grab a friend and spend the afternoon downtown trying “underground” food places. Toronto is crawling with hidden gems, that people do not know about. Make a list of unique restaurants you and your friends want to try and see how many you can attend to in one day. Or, check out vintage thrift stores such as Black Market Clothing. If you are into art and have never been to the Royal Ontario Museum or the Art Gallery of Ontario, now is the time.
Sheridan students have access to gym facilities included in tuition. Take advantage of this week off to get in the gym to exercise. Whether you want to play a game of basketball, go for a run on the treadmill or lift weights, now you have the time. It is known that exercising can clear your mind and relieve stress. If you prefer to exercise outside of the gym, there are many trails around the GTA that are worth taking the drive to. Several trails lead to beautiful lookout points where you can see an array of orange and red tree tops, such as Dundas Peak.
Make a schedule
It can be easy to lose motivation during reading week. Although it is important not to overwhelm yourself with work, it can be easy to fall behind if you put off school for an entire week. The best thing to do prior to reading week, is make a list of all the school work you need/want to accomplish. Divide the assignments out throughout the week, so they do not all pile up on the last day. If you dedicate a few hours each morning to school, you can enjoy the rest of the day stress-free.