• Abby Shieh

How to do Mid-Semester Break Properly


Source // giphy

As a kid, this is how my school holidays used to go: I’d beg my mum to drop me off at the local library, and proceed to spend the next few hours holed up in a corner reading. When she came to pick me up, I’d have a bag filled with about 10 books scanned and ready to satiate my boredom for about a week or so. Rinse, recycle, and repeat. But ever since leaving high school, my flatmates and I have arrived at the same sad realisation: hobbies have somehow become a thing of the past, like some sort of unwritten, unanimous rule of the university experience.

For some this might genuinely be due to a lack of time between juggling work, extra-curriculars and various other CV Bulking Activities™ alongside study. This is not the case with me. I tell myself ‘I’m too busy’, where in reality the time I spend lying in bed trying to get past level 312 on candy crush probably adds up to well over ten hours a week (only a slight exaggeration).

This is where the mid-semester break comes in. You’re most likely stressing out about assignments due after the break, the 100 pages worth of readings that you haven’t caught up on, plus those lectures you skipped because you were already behind anyway so what was the point in going (!!).

As a half-seasoned student who’s watched one too many kit kat ads, this is my best tip: have a break. Those two weeks off are for you to recharge, and no matter what that may involve (long walks by the beach, binge sleeping10+ hours, re-watching the entirety of *insert guilty pleasure TV show of your choice*, a ‘quiet drink’ with friends, or vacuuming the whole house because you’re home for the holidays and your parents would never pass up such a golden opportunity), take the time to properly relax. Plan your study times accordingly and use the remaining time to refuel your mental tank. Pick up that hobby that you never seem to find the time for during the semester: the scarf you’re halfway through knitting, the photo film you were meant to get developed 8 months ago, the dogs you never quite got around to patting.

If not, you’ll find your wakeup call two weeks later: the unholy screech of the alarm as you begin contemplating whether to attend that 9am lecture with seconds to spare, wondering how it’s possible that you now have 200 pages of readings to catch-up on, when you will ever find the time to make that green Thai curry your friend linked you in 2008, listing in your head all the possible consequences if you just chose to drop out right now (surely it can’t be that bad?), and finally: where in the world did those 336 hours go?

So yes, heed my advice and take a break.

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