By Dean Chaffer
Easter is a funny time of the year when you’re at university, it usually signals that the end of the academic year is approaching. Most universities are also very generous when it comes to the holiday break, sometimes offering between two to three weeks where you will have no lectures or taught classes. How can you maximize that time? Read on for some tips.
Go home and visit your family.
If you moved away from home for university, you can use some of this time to go back and visit your family and friends. This will give you the opportunity to have a break from your studies and catch up with them. As well as taking some of the pressure off any looming deadlines that are approaching, hopefully this will refocus your mind as you approach what will be the final term of the academic year.
Catch up if you need to
During your degree, you will be expected to work independently. Juggling your studies as well as a social life can be difficult, so use the time to catch up on your studies if you need to. Most of your facilities should still be open during the Easter Break (although be sure to check as you don’t want to be on campus when there isn't a space to work!)
Read Something New
You will probably have been reading a lot of journals and literature associated with your course and exams. Academic text can be quite dry at times. Choosing a new book can really help get you back into reading for pleasure and there are plenty of different websites to look to for book inspiration. Take a chance on an author you haven’t heard of before or try a new subject you would perhaps like to learn more about.
Prepare your CV for a Summer Internship
Around Easter time, employers will begin to release details of their summer internships. An internship is an excellent opportunity to gain real world experience, which will help you stand out when applying for jobs. So make sure your CV is up to date with your relevant experience from this year. Think: what new modules have you studied? Have you got some in demand skills?
Another avenue to explore is LinkedIn. Linkedin is a professional social network which offers you the opportunity to connect with employers and see employees job openings and company news. It’s very easy to update and provides a professional edge to your CV.
Schedule your revision / assignment time
During term time, you could be juggling several assignments with revision for an upcoming exam. The university usually does this to develop your time management skills - important skills to have when you are applying for future employment or graduate programmes. So having a schedule for what to work on and when to work on it, should enable you to focus on what is important and help you make progress on your assignments (or dedicate some extra time to that exam subject you may be finding particularly tricky!)
Form a study group
Finding studying on your own difficult? Forming a study group could provide the boost that you need Having the support of people that are going through a similar experiences to you can be vital . It may well give you a fresh perspective on the material you are studying. You may realise that others find the same piece of work challenging, and you can derive a better solution by exchanging ideas and discussing it together. Fingers crossed this approach will give you a push towards the finish line.
Renew Your Library Books
If you have borrowed any library books set a reminder to yourself to renew them. This is a good way to avoid fines and make sure that you can take the books with you that you are working with at the time. Library renewals can usually be done online using your university login information.
During stressful times, burnout can creep up on you. The worst part is that you might not even see it coming, so it’s best to use some of the strategies above to keep yourself well. Burnout can leave you feeling exhausted so make sure you can recognise if you’re feeling overwhelmed or panicked about your work. If you have any concerns, talk to someone as early as you can and get the support that you need - do not suffer in silence. Quite often, your university's disability services will be able to offer their support or point you in the right direction.
Plan a day trip
Planning a day trip to somewhere new and exciting can be a good way to reframe your studies. Taking some time off to explore a new place you are passionate about can be really beneficial. Even revising in the sunshine can give you a bit of a boost,so take yourself off to somewhere new with your revision notes. Sometimes, even revising from a cafe can give you a difference sense of space and time.
How do you plan to spend your Easter Break?
Dean has recently finished his MSc in Computing at Teesside University . He writes about his experiences of disability and the education system in the UK.