Reading Week

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Ah, it’s reading week.

Anyone above a certain age won’t have a clue what I mean unless they’re professionally engaged with Higher Education.

It’s the midterm week all students have these days to, er, read.

It’s funny, really. I thought higher education was all about reading all the time. I understand that some courses are reading-intensive, and it may be easy to fall behind, but in my day that was all part of it, and learning to cope with reading and essays and social life all at the same time was an important life skill.

Of course, it may be that reading requirements have dramatically increased and a week out from lectures and tutorials is absolutely necessary to catch up. But a surprising number of students don’t actually read during Reading Week.

The February week falls conveniently during skiing time, and it’s useful to be able to take a week off. The November week is nicely timed for a visit home to catch up on food and washing and seeing home friends. There isn’t a week during the summer term, but that’s because there isn’t a summer term. Students disappear off after Easter to take exams but then no teaching happens for six months so there’s almost a Reading Half Year if anyone wants it.

I’m not complaining. I love visits home from my student children. But I do find it all just a little strange, a little bit of über-mollycoddling which in my “just get on with it and don’t complain” approach to most things is perhaps unnecessary.

I’m just a dinosaur.

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