What to do on breaks?

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying the holidays.

As promised, today I am going to be giving some suggestions on how you can make the most of your breaks between terms. This will be a short post, but you will hopefully find the information useful.

When are breaks?

During your MSc year at Aston, you will effectively have two breaks. The first will come after Term 1 (around the mid-December) and the second will come after Term 2 (around the end of March). I am not counting the time after Term 3 as a break because you will be done with classes and just be working towards completing your dissertation. Both of the breaks last roughly four weeks, which gives you a good amount of time to relax and recoup.

How should I spend my breaks?

As people are different and have their own goals, I am not going to tell you what you should or should not do during your breaks. Rather, I am going to offer suggestions on how to manage you time during the break.

Suggestion 1: Take a few days at the beginning of the break to calm down and disconnect.

After you have finished all of your projects and exams for the term, it is important to take some time off. More than likely, you will be mentally exhausted so do not be afraid to take a few days for yourself. After you have recharged and feel motivated, you can then begin to think about what it is you want to accomplish during your break.

Suggestion 2: Create a plan with what you want to accomplish during the break.

Once you are ready, it will be important to think of what you want to do during the break. When mapping out your plan, remember to be realistic with what you can expect to complete in 3- 3 1/2 weeks. While it might seem like a lot of time, once you factor in holidays and any traveling you my due, it tends to go by quickly.

Start by coming up with a list of goals and then choosing those that seem most important and doable. When I began my current break after Term 1 ,I decided I had two main goals: apply to graduate recruitment programmes and begin reading for my dissertation. I felt the first goal of applying to jobs was important as many of the programmes close around the end of Decemeber (if not earlier). My second goal of reading for my dissertation is important because I know that at the end of Term 2, I will have to turn in the Research Proposal for my dissertation. I want to get started on this early to ensure I have plenty of time to complete it before other coursework and projects are due in Week 8.

Suggestion 3: Stick to a balanced routine…but remember to enjoy your time off!

While it is important to get things done during the break, you should not overwork yourself. Term time can be very stressful and difficult, and the breaks are meant to give you a chance to unwind from that. I will suggest, however, that you try to maintain some sort of routine. For example, try not to get in the habit of going to bed late and waking up in the early afternoon. Of course, it may seem like good fun while you are doing it, but I speak from experience when I say  that these bad habits are hard to break once classes resume.

I would suggest waking up at a decent hour (say 9 or 9:30) and working until maybe 14:00. After that, make it a point to go outside (everyone loves Vitamin D), enjoy the city and spend time with friends. Throughout December there is a great Christmas market in City Centre, and there are always movies and pubs that could use your business ;). Whatever extracurricular activties you enjoy, be sure to take advantage of the free time you have during the break.

Well that is it for this post. I know there is a lot more I could say on this subject, but since I am currently on break and it is New Years Eve, I am going to leave it at that!

I hope you enjoy the rest of this year and have a great 2015.



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