My first few weeks of LSE study were exciting and intense! While I have been seriously enjoying my classes and coursework, getting used to the workload and returning to campus has taken a lot of mental and physical energy. With this in mind, I was thankful for November 1st (the beginning of week six or reading week for many courses) to roll around.
Going into reading week I had high expectations for what I would accomplish and the London explorations I would be able to get up to! Reading week provides the perfect opportunity to relax, refocus, and prepare and I wanted to make use of every waking moment. There are several formative papers and presentations on the horizon that I wanted to make solid progress on in order to feel that I had had a productive week. But! I also wanted to take time to explore London, meet with friends, and relax. Below I have compiled some of the top highlights of my reading week, and what my advice is for myself and you, dear reader, when trying to balance a productive and fun reading week.
At the beginning of the week, I went on a guided walk to learn more about my neighbourhood of East London and its darker history of the murders committed by Jack the Ripper in the late 1800s. The tour guides at London Walks were super informative and I appreciated their emphasis on the victims lives and the historical context of poverty and inequality that the murders took place in. The tour also crossed many streets that I had never encountered before, including getting to see some of London’s Roman ruins for the first time!
Studying Hard, But Not Too Hard
With so many looming deadlines, studying should probably be the main activity during reading week. However, there’s also the opportunity to pair studying with exploring London and making friends! For instance, I made plans with one of my peers to study and write our papers. We departed from the usual (but great) study spot that is the LSE library and ventured nearer to the UCL campus to study at the Wellcome Library. The setting was completely silent and perfect for focusing and writing in a beautiful setting. The building also contains a museum and many pieces of art and artefacts related to medical research and the history of medicine.
Views of the Reading Room: Medical Art and Artefacts
Second Floor of the Reading Room, Only Accessible Through the Library
With the opportunity for socialising and exploring abound during reading week, my advice would be to create a loose schedule. First, going into the list should be the blocks of time you’ll realistically need to write and study for upcoming assignments and coursework, and second your social plans. You could do this slightly in reverse if your ‘fun’ plans are at specific times. Hopefully this schedule can also be a flexible one, as reading week should provide the opportunity to relax and not be too rigid or intense. Creating a schedule in my academic planner was useful for me as without being able to visualise the time needed for each activity, I tend to bite off more than I can chew, and it allowed me to check off each activity block making me feel more productive and accomplished with my time.
With only about a month until the end of term, I expect the remaining lectures, seminars, and assignments to fly by. While I didn’t accomplish absolutely everything on my to-do list, I feel prepared and refreshed going into the final stretch of Michaelmas term. I’m looking forward for what is to come during the remainder of my first term here at LSE!