How to avoid studying during reading week

From creative ways to motivate yourself to guilty pleasures for procrastination, here are Scene’s suggestions for spending time over Reading Week.

Facebook stalk random strangers |

Ready to learn way more about those you’ve tried to forget? Inevitably, as your mind wanders in the coming week, you’ll wonder about somebody from your years as a troubled teen or terrible toddler. Formally catching up might be awkward, so stalk them on Facebook instead! You may come to realize that several Wash. U. parties fail to qualify as pregames at larger state universities. But scroll to pictures of their freshman dorms, and you’ll quickly feel better. My biggest surprise arrived when I learned someone from my high school class is engaged. I can barely tie my shoes, but she’s ready to tie the knot.

Join a new online Community |

If you’re desperate for a new distraction, consider joining a new online community. There are millions out there besides Facebook, for interests ranging from politics to poking fun at hipsters. My personal weakness, Reddit, is a social news aggregator on which the users vote on articles and other links they find interesting. Before making a Reddit account, I thought the site would be a harmless diversion. In John Milton’s words, “with a rash hand in evil hour forth reaching” to the keys, I registered. My GPA felt the wound, and my productivity gave signs of woe that all was lost. Seriously, this is the worst time of year for distraction. Subscribe only with an iron will and a desire to submit it to the greatest test.

Play the Wikipedia game |

Wikipedia has saved my life so many times; I should recognize it as a source of divine providence. One article of faith I hold about the most reliable of sources is that every article is six degrees of separation from the article on linguistics. There are many variations of the Wikipedia game, but this is the simplest. After navigating to a random article, click the first hyperlink after the pronunciation. Repeat selecting the first hyperlink until you’ve reached the article on linguistics—the center of all information. Advanced players may determine which hyperlink to choose by consulting the Fibonacci sequence. If you’re unsure about the sequence, check out the article on Fibonacci. He’s, at most, five degrees from Linguistics.

Pitch a tent in the library

Pitch a tent in the library. About .1 percent of campus real estate controls 99 percent of productivity! #occupyolin Seriously, though, competing for desk space in Olin Library during reading week can be a full contact sport. The best strategy for avoiding battle scars is to stake out your prey. A fitful night’s sleep in Whispers guarantees a desk when the library opens. You may even poach a study room. If you feel especially brave, suspend a sheet from the stacks in the basement and try to convince the custodians to let you stay.

Browse Sporcle |

There’s no time more appropriate than reading week to realize your dream of becoming an expert on African capital cities, the digits of pi, or the logos of various international sports teams. Sporcle, a website featuring thousands of quizzes ranging across all disciplines, is the Internet’s most educational time sink. During my freshman year, my friends and I memorized all the elements, and most of us weren’t enrolled in chemistry. Not all the quizzes are so sophisticated or academic. Try naming all the “Harry Potter” characters you can or every three-letter body part—there are ten—or try filling in the blank of famous song titles.

Written Kitten |

If you have far too many essays due, a need for instant reward for little effort, and a love for felines, consider Written Kitten as a motivator over reading week. For every one hundred words written in the text box, Written Kitten displays an adorable kitten. Some cuddle, some stare lovingly into your eyes, and some just really want a cheeseburger. For the crazy lady in all of us, admiring the next cat is the ultimate motivator. Unfortunately, Written Kitten offers too much carrot, but too little stick. Version 2.0 should replace the kitten with a blobfish as a punishment for writing too slowly.

Visit Monet’s Water Lilies

It’s almost studying if you’re engaging your right brain, right? The Saint Louis Art Museum has a world-class exhibit of some of Monet’s Water Lilies. The most massive, the “Agapanthus” triptych, commands an entire wall and mesmerizes the viewer with swirls of blue and green. Even if you are not artistically inclined, there’s a lot to learn. For example, Monet paid a gardener to dust the tops of the lily pads. The exhibit ends right after students return from winter break, the show is free on Fridays.

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