After a sunny long weekend and a terrific two weeks off, I’m sorry to report that the mid-semester break is over. As over as MySpace, Tamagotchis and Crocs. So as we pine for the holidays – a distant vision in the rear-view-mirror – how can we get back in the swing of uni? Read on for this fourth-year student’s top tips for getting back on track after the break.
1. Make a new game plan
While Navigator has tried to advise us on how to make the most of the ‘fake break,’ chances are you fell off the bandwagon and didn’t get as much work done as you had hoped. That’s why it’s important to start Week 9 by drawing up a new study game plan for the rest of the semester.
I like to use an ordinary calendar to mark out assessment due dates IN BOLD and the steps I’ll take to finish them in regular, less scary font. But whether you plan with a scrap of paper or detailed programs like the Shovel app or Asana, you need to make sure your schedule is realistic. A good rule of thumb is to think about how long you will need to complete an assessment, then double it to give yourself leeway for unexpected distractions and delays.
2. Be conscious of exams approaching
It’s just over five weeks until the exam period kicks off, and while that may seem like a long time, sometimes I think it’s still March. Lesson: time flies (regardless of whether you’re having fun). The time to start preparing for exams is now. Another thing to be conscious of is changed exam arrangements due to COVID-19 seating capacities. Check your course outline to see whether you will be sitting an in-person exam or completing a major assignment, online exam or take-home exam. I have completed several take-home exams, and let me warn you, open book does not guarantee an easy experience – so you will still need to study beforehand.
3. Easy does it
Having said all of that, going from two weeks of uni break back into study full throttle is not the best idea. Instead, try to bring some of the break with you in your daily grind. What do I mean? Catch the tram from NUspace to the beach after class; don your activewear for a walk around Callaghan’s canopies or work outside in the sunshine at Ourimbah. Meet with a friend for an iced coffee (instantly more fun than a hot bevvy) and wear your most colourful shirt. Doing one thing you enjoy on a uni day will help you bound out of bed in the morning.
4. Reach out early
If you are struggling to juggle your study load or don’t know how best to revise, there’s no time like the present to reach out for support. You might have spent the break thinking about dropping a course (but who wants to pay for the HECS debt?) As such, it’s worth exploring what other options you have first. The Student Progress Advice team is offering telephone or Zoom consultations with advisors in your faculty to help you create an individual plan for success. Learning Support also provides helpful templates which you can use to plan your time. Finally, if you need specific help with course content, remember that your tutors are there to help you, but won’t appreciate being contacted the night before your assignment is due! If you get in touch now, there’s plenty of time to turn things around.
With these four tips, I hope we can all go forth and smash out the rest of semester…as summer calls us into its sweaty but delightful embrace.
Feature image via Unsplash