Once the national restrictions end on the 2nd of December, university students will be permitted to travel home to spend Christmas with their families, in line with the government’s guidance. From 3 December to 9 December, the ‘student travel window’ takes place in which students will be allowed to travel home on staggered departure dates set by universities. By 9 December, universities were advised to move learning online in order to allow students to continue their learning from home.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed at the thought of managing to study at home during these unprecedented times. While placing your university workload low on your priority list during Christmas can be simple, you should not steer away from it completely at the risk of falling behind. It’s important of course, to take some time away and clear your head, but the last thing you want is to panic in January. We have asked education expert, Richard Evans from The Profs, to help you manage your workload during the Christmas break by sharing his top tips.
1) Set clear goals
Set a list of goals that are achievable during the time you are home before you even leave university. Make a list of tasks that you need to finish and find a way to divide them into smaller daily tasks. Make sure that any important tasks, such as assignments, are prioritized so that you can ensure you meet your January deadlines. If you manage to finish these in your time frame,you can then re-read any lecture notes near the end of your break so that the information is fresh in your mind when you return in January.
2) Keep in contact with course friends
It can really help to talk to those in the same position as you. To discuss assignment-related questions, queries and tips, arrange a weekly video call with course friends during the Christmas break. You may find that you have an answer to somebody’s question that can even ignite your own new idea. Always remember that everybody has various methods of study that work for them. You can also ask a friend to help test your expertise in a subject area and build a better relationship by offering and seeking support from each other.
3) Be positive
If you are in a bad mood, you will find it increasingly difficult to concentrate and may start beating yourself up. Stop and take a little break away from your workstation before returning if you find yourself getting consistently frustrated. Also, take the time to see what method of research works for you, listen to audio versions of lectures or highlight keywords in a book. You could discover that your original approach didn’t bring out the best in you. Use your good mood to your advantage, when you’re in a good mood, you will find it much easier to challenge yourself and complete a task you’ve been putting off.
4) Talk to someone
Let’s face it. 2020 has been a difficult year. It’s OK – honestly, it’s natural – to feel the extra stress. These stressors can manifest in unpredictable ways when there is such uncertainty in the world, as there has been this past year and are likely to make university life seem much more challenging. For first year students, this is particularly true; the pressures of university are usually alleviated by the enjoyment of meeting new people and embarking on new adventures. However, lockdown has made it much harder to see or make new friends, so we lose our best defense against the pressures of a standard university workload. Sit down with someone you trust this holiday season – a family member or friend – and chat about your perspectives and first-term difficulties. Hopefully, you will think of opportunities to do better and new ways to reduce stress next term.
5) Enjoy your breaks
You need to set times to recharge your battery, it is as important as it is to keep on top of your schedule. Ultimately, the Christmas break is an opportunity to be surrounded by comforts at home and spend time with your loved ones. Make a conscious effort to limit your screen time during these breaks to get some clarity and organise your thoughts. As you feel more confident, time away will also strengthen your attitude towards revision and coursework malong you feel more optimistic. You should write down any enjoyable events you have planned that will inspire you to achieve tasks while you set your goals.