Friday, 15 December 2017

How to have a good Winter vacation

The whiteboards are being cleaned in the lecture halls, the lines to the gas-taps in the teaching labs are off and campus is already looking barren as undergraduates make their way home. I took a poll of one lecture theatre and is appeared 90% of students were going home with 40% visiting friends at other Universities in between. Whatever you plan on doing, here are my tips to make sure you have a peaceful, productive and distress-free time.

Do not underestimate how tired you will be.

12 weeks of studying, partying, making new friends and (for most of you) living independently for the first time is tough on any system. But with all the adrenalin pumping around your system you may not recognise it. It is amazing what happens to you when you return to your family environment after 3 months away. Combine the disarming lure of your old bed with your vestigial hibernating instincts and you may just end up sleeping longer each day than you anticipated. Therefore expect your first week off-duty to be vertical for less hours than you would normally be and do not beat yourself up if you find that you are the not the super-student that you were on campus. In fact….

Set yourself a reasonable amount of study each day.

Studying without lecturers or peers is a very different experience at University. Read around your subject. Explore the areas that are of interest to you. Confront the topics that really stumped you during term (or not - that’s your choice). It is much harder to study like this but it is also much more rewarding. One idea could be to set yourself 3 hours every morning. By lunch you have completed your daily quota. You can spend the rest of the day feeling proud and will sleep soundly that evening. And if you do continue to study the boost to your morale will do wonders for you.

Negotiate with those around you your off days.

Your friends at different Universities will have different plans on how to spend the vacation. Your family may expect you to take all of vacation off. Make sure that all assumptions are worked through at the start of the vacation to avoid awkward moments when you have to turn down a family outing or a pub-night with your friends because it doesn’t fit in with your study-schedule. Invest the time to build a schedule that maximises the fun without reducing your study-hours.

Have a great time and see you next year.

Sam

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