As the holidays approach, everyone plans to head home and relax from the constant stress of school or work and see old friends and family. Between obligatory Thanksgiving family meals and football viewing parties, there tends to be less free time than one expects. Everyone usually enters their holiday breaks, whether Thanksgiving or Winter, with the notion that they will be able to study and do work over the break.
From past experiences though, we all know this plan tends to fail rather easily as often times we overestimate our ability to focus and dedicate time to studying over vacation.
However, the vacation time provided through holidays and school breaks such as Thanksgiving or Winter Break can be a great opportunity to study and prepare for upcoming exams as you have no other academic obligations.
Unfortunately, it’s those social distractions and the allure of procrastination that ruins our ability to instill productive study habits. It’s easy to say, “I’ll just study during the last week” or justify that you need the first couple days off to “recover”, however, if you want to be productive, here’s some advice:
1) Find a place to study besides your home. At school it’s easy to separate your residence from your academics through use of the library. At home it’s very easy to “study” while watching TV or find other distractions. Find a coffee shop, or even a public library nearby that will help you re-enter the necessary focus for proper preparation.
2) Create a schedule prior to vacation, and stick to it.
3) Be realistic. Don’t expect to buckle down and study for six hours in a row. Maybe two hours with an hour break and then another hour of studying.
Vacation and breaks are supposed to provide stress relief from the typical academic workload. However, do not come back from break feeling increasingly stressed because you did not properly study or plan over break. Even if you study just a little, by constantly studying throughout break, you will prevent yourself from falling into the trap of overworking yourself afterwards. However, despite all of this, don’t forget to also have fun and cherish those moments over break!