I’m nearing the end of my first ever uni vacation and I thought I’d share a few thoughts. Clearly you prospective applicants are basing your applications on the quality of the uni vacations.
For one thing, they’re ridiculously long and there’s a lot less build-up. I remember “the week before Christmas break” being a massive thing every year in secondary and elementary school–you’d start counting down the month before and fiiiiinally you’d get your break. The whole school cheers as the last bell rings, etc.
And for what? You get a miserable little week off, maybe two if you’re in a fancy, padded private school or indeed anywhere in civilised Europe, but then you’re back on the treadmill.
Uni’s a completely different kettle of fish. Building any sort of hype for the break is a massive nonstarter. People leave halfway through the week, jetting off to wherever after handing in the last coursework of the term, so the campus kind of slowly shrivels and evaporates. You fit all the partying you skipped during the week into the last weekend and then set out yourself. Pffffff.
But theeeeen you get an immense break, four weeks of rest and relaxation and detox and all that jazz. It’s really nice. I promise. You get to see family again and explain why you didn’t contact them at all and why you’re out of money and what bad choices you made RE alcohol and oyster card plans.
The big thing, though, is that you have exams AFTER break. Unless you’ve been a model student all year, you’ll probably have a great deal of revision to do–it really stacks up. Basically your course turns into Damocles’ Sword of Death and Despair. For biochemistry, that means memorising forty sheets of dense mechanisms (organic chem, metabolism, atp synthesis, all the pathways, etc) in addition to the rest of the course content.
All good fun, though. I guess this is when you decide if you really like your course, and luckily it’s worked out for me!
Happy New Year, and wishing you all a great 2014 (hopefully continuing or starting at Imperial!)