Spending your Easter holidays wisely
As the second term comes to an end, it is time for us all to think about what we should be doing during the rather long Easter holiday break which lasts for five and a half weeks! I would like to outline my advice with regards to revision and plans for the summer, which will probably be most applicable to current first year students.
With exams in Term 3, it’s probably a good idea for us first years to make a start on revision. When revising during the holidays, I find it best to allocate a moderate amount of time to each day, a few hours for example, rather than cramming in all my revision into the space of a few days by doing incredibly long hours. Not only will cramming your revision too much into a set number of days probably cause you to become increasingly less productive as times goes on but it will also reduce the chances you have to go out and take a break from revision. By allocating a few hours to each day over the period of a few weeks (with some days completely free of revision), you will leave yourself plenty of time to go out with friends, play sport or whatever else you find helps you to relax and recover from hard work. Taking time out when revising is really important and will undoubtedly allow you to revise more in the long run (as long as you’re not spending hours on video games or in front of the TV which is probably not the best way to let your mind recover!). Revision is only worth it if the information you are revising is actually going in rather than you just thinking that because you are ‘revising’ and looking at a book, it must be worthwhile. Be strict with your time – if you find that the content you are revising is not going in, leave it and do something else for an hour or so and then come back when you are in a better frame of mind. Also, remember to do what works best for you when revising. If you are a morning person and find that you are most productive earlier in the day, then be disciplined – make sure you get up early and utilise the time you have in the morning as much as possible. Then in the afternoon, perhaps do a little more revision if you feel that is necessary but keep your time free so you can take a break and do other things too.
It is also probably a good idea right at the start of the holidays before you start revision to make sure you are organised. If, like me, you have random handouts from different modules lying about, file them in the right place in the correct order or if you don’t think it is important, throw it in the bin! Keeping your notes and revision space as tidy as possible will ensure that the time you devote to revision throughout the holidays is productive.
There are other things too though besides revision that you can be doing in the Easter. If you are a first year and have not yet thought about how best to utilise the masses of time you will have in the summer, then now is probably a good time to think about that. Perhaps you applied for an internship and weren’t successful? Don’t worry, all is not lost! If you do want a working opportunity during the summer to put on your CV and help your applications for internships in second year, then email around and ask companies what summer opportunities they have available. Not everything has to be done through a formal application and a lot of the time just speaking to the right person in a company can get you a work experience opportunity which may lead to further opportunities down the line.
There are other things you may want to plan for the summer too. Maybe you want to go travelling with friends around Europe or somewhere further afield? Now is the perfect time to start planning things like that because as soon as exams come around and the revision intensifies, organising holidays probably won’t be a priority.
Finally, as we begin to finish the content in our modules (and I’m sure most of you know what you like and dislike by now anyway), you might want to think about your options for next year. As someone who takes PPE, this is quite a big deal because we effectively have to decide whether we want to drop one of the disciplines of our degree and whether we want to take the BSc or BA route. But whatever degree you are studying, it’s always good to reflect on the modules you have been studying and use that to inform your thinking about module choices for next year.