November 20, 2012
Reading Week just came to a close—that special time twice a semester where you have a philosophical crisis of epic proportions: do I use Reading Week to rest and shamelessly avoid work, or do I use it to work and shamelessly avoid all human contact for 7 days? By now, most of you have realized that the key to a successful Reading Week is to execute a proper plan of action. In that spirit, it is my desire to offer a few pearls of wisdom. The following is a Reading Week Survival Guide of sorts:
- Set High Goals: We all know that you haven’t kept up with your reading this semester. You’re not fooling anyone. Calculate how much work you have to get done to stay on top of your game and set a goal to catch up.
- Don’t Set That High of Goal: Now that you’ve calculated how far you are behind, quit freaking out. You can’t start and finish 2 Semlinks and still stay on top of your Hebrew homework while researching your Greek exegesis paper (unless you’re Adam Davis). It’s just not gonna happen. A wise man once said, “The key to happiness is modest expectations.” Your expectations are at an 8…calm down. Let’s return to a 5-6 range, OK?
- Pace Yourself: Monday is just as important as Friday. Reading 500 pages of early church fathers on Monday, while impressive, will effectively remove your ability to form a complete thought for at least 72 hours, hurting you in the long run. (Trust me. I know.)
- Caffeine:…is a TOOL, not a miracle worker. Remember, friends, if your daily coffee consumption is more than 10 cups…your body hates you.
- Forget #4: I don’t know what I was thinking.
- Vocab: Let’s be honest. Those of you in language classes crammed your vocab before every quiz and exam so far. Don’t lie. You did. Bust out those flashcards and consider engaging your long-term memory this week.
- Cleaning: That pizza box from the first reading week is starting to smell. You probably haven’t washed your sheets since the semester started. Contrary to popular belief, jeans do eventually need to be washed. Take some time to get your life together. You’re a mess.
- Friends: Your friends outside of seminary think, “Oh you have no classes! I’ll come visit and remove every last bit of free time you had dedicated to complete #1 and #2.” These friends must be treated much the same way first century Jews treated Lepers. What about seminary friends, you ask? Only associate with friends on the same level of expectation as you (see #2). Such levels of expectation must be communicated in advance because there is nothing more infuriating than that one friend who has nothing to do during Reading Week.
- Distractions: That TV show you started at the beginning of the semester is calling your name. Don’t be rude. Answer it! Reading Weeks are free passes to fit an entire season of television into a seven-day period. Don’t even think about missing that opportunity.
- Significant Others: It’s that time of year. That DTR you’ve been putting off needs to happen. Remember, if you get rejected, it’s much easier to avoid someone during Reading Week than it is during regular class time. If you score a date, you might actually have time to follow through. Go for it!
- Sleep: You may not realize it, but you are not a pleasant person to be around when you are sleep deprived. If you plan on having friends after Reading Week, catch up on some z’s while you can.
This is not an exhaustive list; however, it should be enough to get you started. I hope it was a huge success! And next Reading Week, I’ll see y’all at Starbucks.
Tim Norton is a born-and-raised, small-town Southerner with the sweet tea addiction to prove it. He comes to Gordon-Conwell as a Kern Pastor-Scholar and plans to pursue pastoral ministry in the U.S. after graduation. Tim is a big personality with a strange affinity for the color orange. Currently, he attends GENESIS Church, an Acts 29 church plant in Woburn, MA.
Author: Tim Norton