Universities have a wide range of students, each of them with their own personality and opinions. However, there’s one thing in common among them all, something that all of us look forward to and that is spring “break”.
The quotation marks on the word “break” are, by no means, a typo, but a way of expressing the sweet and sour flavour of such a time.
The Cambridge Dictionary describes break as a time away from work or your regular activity, or a holiday.
It will be appropriate to say that our spring break could be described using half of this definition. It is indeed a period of time without lectures (our regular activity) and it also a time away, as most of us go back home for the month.
However, can we consider this break a holiday? Definitely not.
Although we do not attend university for all of April, we have to study almost every day. After all, by the end of that month, we need to show that we have somehow absorbed the knowledge that we were taught and that we can proceed with our degree.
Having a month without classes can be quite difficult to manage. The lack of an enforced routine makes it harder to focus. It is at this time that our will comes into play.
Let me share with you how I managed to have a (kind of) fruitful break.
Sitting down at your desk and thinking about all the studying that I had to do was overwhelming, so I decided to go step by step, little by little.
I first gathered all of my paper notes and organized them properly into folders. Then I started doing a thorough read on the lecture notes and summarizing topics. I found this to be extremely useful, as writing out my own notes helped greatly in the understanding process.
Once I had revised the content of a subject, I went on and did the tutorial sheets and, lastly, I attempted past papers.
This slow process meant that I would be doing past papers rather late on the break, however, learning from the winter break, I realized that it was much more useful to start them once I had some knowledge on a subject.
To obtain the most of each past paper, once finished and corrected, I wrote some conclusions on a post-it. These post-its would contain things like important errors or theory to be remembered. That way, keeping them will allow me to revise them prior to the exam and avoid doing the same errors again.
Being home means that you are closer to your loved ones, closer to your friends. It is inevitable to want to spend time with them, while at the same time it’s tough not to feel guilty for not spending that time studying. The solution I found to this dichotomy was to meet up with friends for lunch or dinner. Knowing that I was meeting someone later on that day encouraged to work harder and stay more focused, having in mind that my reward would be a nice meal with a loved one.
This was a common practice most days. Others I would not work at all and give myself a complete break (which is very much needed). Others, I would spend the day home just working.
I found this break to be quite an uncertain time, having mixed feelings of relaxation and burden. On one hand, I was relieved from the tension of uni. On the other, I was very much aware of what was about to come.
During the bad days, those in which tension was the protagonist and focusing felt like climbing Everest, I opted for a lighter studying. This consisted of the revision of rather “light” topics, mainly the ones that I had already understood but I still needed to go over.
Contrarily, on the good days, when I felt that I could run the world, I went ahead with the most challenging subjects, those who were still puzzles to be assembled.
If anything, this first-ever spring “break” has taught me how real life will taste like when no one will be on top of me scheduling my life, but when time is at my complete possession, to be organized as wished.