It is 8.30 am on the first day of Reading Week. We have no classes in the College this week (though I am running a rescheduled class) and it is a time for students and Faculty to take a break from classes and catch up. It is not really a full week since St Patrick's Day on Friday makes it a short week. Students will use the opportunity to work on assignments and projects, as well as getting some study in. No doubt they will also take a break from study - and perhaps some will do nothing academic this week. When students refer to this week as a "break", I am quick to remind them that it is not and that it should be used wisely. For part-time students, some of whom come to evening classes three days a week, it will be a welcome respite from the pace of learning - especially for those who have full time jobs and families.
|Image source: Get into that boat.|
For Faculty, it is also a break from classes. Most of us will use the time to catch up on grading assessments. I have two large classes and a small mountain of assignments awaits - this was the week to clear my desk ahead of the remaining 5 weeks in the semester. However, an unexpected project has scuppered these plans and I will not be able to get everything I had planned for the week done.
It is important for people to take a break no matter what their activities are - what the late Stephen Covey called "Sharpen the Saw". A 12 week semester is a long time for both students and Faculty to keep going. This year at NCI we are introducing a second reading week in the lead up to Easter. It will incorporate Good Friday when the College will be closed. Many other Colleges have "breaks" at Easter - so now we are too.
To all students - enjoy the week. Take a break. Catch up on studies. Clear all assignments. Plan for projects later in the Semester. Bake some cookies. Take your partner out. Sleep. Come back to College next week refreshed!