November; the month of unexpected and unprepared for stress. With the first month back at university achieved and forgotten, it feels like the rest of the year is going to pass by in a blur. Wrong. Just as we think the hard part is over – getting back into the swing of things – we realise that we haven’t had anything to back in to the swing of yet. Moaning about thirty page readings, getting up for a 10AM lecture and maybe even mumbling through a class presentation… What on earth were we worrying about?
Rumors of November deadlines start pouring in thick and fast but they can be easily dismissed. The time comes when you pluck up the courage to check QMPlus and you find out that it wasn’t just chinese whispers. Three essays over a two week span. Reading week, must you be such a tease? ‘Enjoy your reading week’, your lecturers say. ‘We’ll catch up during reading week’, your friends from home say. ‘You’ll be able to relax over reading week’, your parents say. To all examples, the answer is ‘well, yeah but, I’ve just got so much work..’
I started daydreaming of a time when a week off actually meant a week off. The days before a half term were spent finishing, not beginning. When the bell went you’d be running to the front gate to meet your friends, not staying behind to talk about assignments. Anything education related could be completely forgotten, not dragging up everything you have forgotten from five weeks ago. I still struggle to comprehend that the work I’m doing over reading week is as important as the work I do during term time. They wouldn’t want me to drag myself out of bed to start an essay, would they?
Despite the ever looming knowledge that there is actually a real world out there somewhere, I can’t help taking our weeks (sometimes months!) off for granted. I can imagine how angry I’ll be if I ever look back on this column at a time when two weeks holiday a year is sacred. At least then a holiday will actually be a holiday, not a week of writing essays dressed up as a a free pass to do whatever you want, whenever you want.