Plan ahead to maintain your academic rhythm over Spring Break
By Texas State SLAC
Spring Break is almost here! Unfortunately, semesters don’t always end when a college student’s vacation begins. Learning to manage working while enjoying your time off is an essential skill for college life and beyond.
First: Make a plan. Since your brain is still in college mode, take advantage of it. Just as in the regular semester, put what you have to get done and related deadlines on a calendar and make a schedule to be sure you study some each day and more on days you aren’t actively involved in extracurricular fun. Making a plan now will prevent stress later and keep you from completely losing the rhythm of academic life.
Tell your family, friends and roommates that you will have work to do over the break. Letting people know in advance that you must do some homework over the break will make it easier for you to get it done. This way you won’t disappointment them when you can’t do everything they’d planned. Also, they’re more likely to help by reminding you of your plans and giving you space and time to stick to them.
Keep up on your sleep and nutrition, and avoid ill people if possible. You don’t want to have to miss classes after coming back from a week off.
Use the city library if you need somewhere quiet. Working at home, or wherever you’re spending break, may be difficult. Don’t forget that city libraries are almost everywhere (including tropical Spring Break getaways). They can be great places to work for several hours in peace.
Use time waiting in airports, on long car rides, or during bad weather days to study. Even intermittent studying will help your retention and processing and make returning to academic life easier. Use ear stoppers to block noise or wear ear buds and pretend like you’re listening to music to deter conversation when studying in a public place.
Make back-up copies of your materials — it’s just as important as studying regularly and using downtime to work. Carrying notes and computers entails the possibility that they may get lost or damaged. Make back-up travel drives, e-mail written assignments, photocopy or scan your notes, and always save your work in at least two places.
Finally, consider alternative Spring Break trips that focus on volunteer work for well-known organizations, especially if this is an appropriate time in your academic career to gain real-world experience. These may include local entities such as Habitat for Humanity or domestic violence shelters. Some trips could involve living and working at a camp for the disabled, a Native American reservation, a nature reserve, or going out of the country. Regardless of where you go, volunteer work can broaden your perspective and shape your goals.
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