What to do Between Semesters
Wondering what to do between semesters? Are you bored, or ready to get a head start? Here are 12 tips on what to do between semesters. Some of the tips are school related, while others are not. The key is to find a balance between preparing for school and relaxing a bit—both are important. You may have two, three, or even four weeks off, so use the time wisely.
Family and friends. This is the time to reconnect with your family and friends. School is demanding, so take time over the break to visit with them, ask them what their last few months were like. Resist the temptation to talk about yourself, and instead listen to them. If you have trouble focusing on others, consider reading this short article on active listening.
Reflect on the past semester. Ask yourself what worked, what didn’t work, and what you will do differently. Not only in school, but in your personal life. I used to think reflection was silly, but there are significant educational benefits to self-reflection. You may want to start journaling if you don’t do so already.
Create process goals. A process goal involves how you are going to do things. For example, you may decide to get to school an hour earlier so that you can study in the library. Or you may decide to make flash cards each day after classes are over. A goal to get an “A” in a class is not a process goal. You can control the process, but not the outcome. To delve deeper on this, watch this video on how to set goals.
Plan next semester’s schedule. If you don’t have a schedule, then make one and stick to it. This includes not only going to class, but deciding when you are going to study, eat, sleep, exercise, shop, relax, and attend religious services.
Exercise. You need exercise not only for your body, but also for your brain. Studies show that exercise is correlated to increased cognitive ability.
Read a good book. And no, I don’t mean your textbook. Read something that is going to challenge you and get you to think about the great ideas. I recommend Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Sertillanges The Intellectual Life, or any other of the numerous great books.
Review the material for next semester. If you have your textbooks, look through them and start getting familiar with what you will be covering next semester.
YouTube and blogs. I don’t mean for entertainment, though you should do some of that. Look for videos and blogs that will help you next semester. If you need help with writing essay exams, find a useful blog post, like this one on the IRAC method. If you are having problems with grammar, find blogs that will help you improve your language skills.
Online courses. If you can find online courses that will help you with the skills you need next semester, or in courses that you are going to take, then enroll in the course. I’m talking about relatively short courses so that you can complete soon, that way you can go into the semester with an understanding of the material. It takes our minds some time to digest knowledge, so get a head start over the break.
Watch a movie. Go out and enjoy some popcorn, a drink, and movie with some friends. This is the time to relax a bit before you start the next semester.
Enjoy nature. Find a park, mountain, ocean, or other nature preserve where you can walk outdoors. It’s important to get away from the city and enjoy an open space.
Improve your writing. Figure out where your writing needs improvement and then work on that area. I’m not saying move from a weak writer to the best writer in the world, but make one incremental improvement. The key is to not give up on this important skill, and instead to continue improving. One day, you will be the great writer that you need to be to get top grades on your essay exams. If you don’t have an exam improvement book, I recommend Writing Essay Exams to Succeed in Law School.
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