Revitalizing Reading Days

Last weekend, the University of Virginia had its first recess of the year. Students were able to catch up on sleep, prepare for midterms, venture home, and see old friends.

Although once called “Fall Break,” the first few days of October are now called “Reading Days.” According to second-year Hannah All, the name change makes it “sound as though the long weekend is meant for studying,” when in reality, the days are often filled with other activities.

Photo courtesy Charlotte Scharferberg
Photo courtesy Charlotte Scharferberg

As a member of the acapella group “New Dominions,” All traveled to American University, Harvard, and Yale as part of Fall Roll. Each autumn, the group visits three colleges on the eastern seaboard to perform and learn from each other.

“I would call Reading Days an anti-break,” said All. “When I came back, I felt as though I had gotten behind instead of ahead.”

Not all students had the rigorous recess that All did. First-year Sam Mogen went home to Radford, Va., with “zero homework” to complete.

While Mogen enjoyed being back with family and friends, he also missed being on grounds and would have preferred break to come a week or two later.

“We have only been here a month and a half, and now, we’re in for a long stretch to Thanksgiving,” said Mogen.

Instead of traveling home, roommates Allison Horenberg and Erin Barrett spent their first college Reading Days in their dorm.

“We had movie nights, lots of movie nights,” said Horenberg. Horenberg also went hiking with friends at Old Rag and toured Monticello, two activities essential to a true UVa experience.

“Grounds were so quiet, almost deserted. Every time I walked down the hallway in the dorm the lights would click on,” said Barrett. The upside to being at UVa with only a fraction of the normal student body? Playing frisbee on the lawn outside O’Hill “free of judgment.”

“Watching my friends come back was the best part,” said Barrett. Now that the students are all back on grounds, UVa is lively once again and midterms are in full swing.


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