How to make the most of your ‘fake break’

Nothing feels better than waking up knowing you have two weeks of sweet, sweet freedom. No classes. No lectures. No battling it out for a park.

In previous weeks you would have to set your alarm for 7am. Sit in gridlock. Stay up way too late trying to complete readings. Foregoing nights out at King St to maintain your status as a good student (or maybe that’s just me).

But those days are over! Welcome to the mid-semester break. You finally have the time to stop wasting that gym membership, meal-prep and maybe even sleep in.

However, don’t get too comfortable with this newfound free time.

IT’S A TRAP.

The mid-semester break is a ~fake break~, designed to lull you into the false sense of security that there’s no assessments due. You can just relax, and not think about that essay due in two weeks’ time. That’s a Post-break You problem. Then semester kicks off again, and next minute you’re well and truly in the thick of it.

As someone who is now in their fourth year at UON, please heed my advice. Use your time-off wisely. This isn’t to say you can’t spend time vegging out and catching up with friends – but don’t let uni fall by the wayside. Because much like mosquitos at the start of spring, it’ll sneak up on you, and be annoying as hell.

So here’s my advice on how you can enjoy the break, as well as keep your uni affairs in order.

1. Make a list

Making lists and timetables is my favourite form of procrastination. You’re not having to do any actual work, but as it’s still uni related, so you don’t get that guilty feeling like after a four hour Netflix binge.

I like to write down everything I have due in the foreseeable future (i.e. exams, major essays, any other remaining assessments), and work out a schedule to get everything completed on time. There’s no worse feeling than realising you’ve only got a day to teach yourself three whole topics. By taking the time now to compile what you have to do, it reduces stress and your future self will thank you for it.

2. Do a little bit of work everyday

“But it’s the uni BREAK”, you wail. “Why should I have to study?”

Firstly don’t @ me, I’m not the one setting assessment deadlines. The reality is though, the more you complete now, the smoother your semester will be. Two whole weeks of no pesky classes getting in the way of your learning is precious catch-up time. DON’T WASTE IT.

Use this time to listen to any lectures you may have missed and actually do the readings. If you’re already on top of this – amazing! Time to start working on those exam summaries. Or better yet – start that major project/essay which is looming in the distance. This may seem like a lot, but by doing just little bits each day, you still get to enjoy your time off as well as be extra prepared. Once you reach Week 13, trying to make time to complete summaries between assessments can feel like an unlikely prospect. So take advantage of the time you have now!

If you’re after a more in-depth look at how to use your break productively, check out this fab article.

3. Self-care

The best thing I have learnt in the last year is recognising the importance of self-care. Aside from using it as a justification for when I’ve spent too much money on food, self-care is essential to doing well in the future.

It’s so easy to become stressed and burnt out. So with eight weeks of study done and dusted, it’s time to treat yourself. For me, that means lying around with a facemask on and reading something which isn’t uni related (a rare occurrence). Make time to unwind and do something which makes you happy. This could be something as simple as cooking something new, going to the gym or doing a massive spring clean.

Need some self-care inspo? Well, the Navigator team and I have brainstormed our favourite relaxation habits:

  • Relaxing bath with candles and a bath bomb
  • A movie and a hot chocolate
  • Going for a leisurely walk in a nice area
  • Spending time with pets
  • Making a playlist of songs you love and listening to them endlessly
  • Walk by the beach
  • Going for a kick at the local soccer field.

By taking the time now to indulge in the things you enjoy, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated when uni rolls back around – and ready to take on anything!