Utilizing Your Spring Break

By Christine Pitts
@cpitts_

As a graduate student my schedule is extremely busy. When spring semester really begins to kick in spring break seems like a distant star that I’ll never be able to wish upon. However, it always arrives and I am always ready for it. However, as a first year graduate student this spring break has been very different from the pervious breaks I experienced during my undergraduate time.

First, the shock of being on break hit me uncomfortably. My brain went from racing with ideas, projects, papers, GA assignments, and internship obligations to quiet, too quiet. The first day of break I kept feeling like I was forgetting about something – a project, a paper, an assignment! I had to consciously remind myself that there was nothing due next week. When I finally grasped this glorious idea I was able to relax. However, being a Capricorn (or maybe just being me) I wanted to do work. I decided that there were ways I could utilize my spring break, while also enjoying the down time.

Here are some tips and suggestions that I did to utilize my spring break:

1.  Catch up/Get ahead. These past few weeks have been overwhelming, maybe you’ve fallen behind on some reading or maybe you didn’t read something as thoroughly as you wanted. Spring break gives you time to catch up. Additionally, you don’t have any assignments due next week, but you can get a head start. Start research on that paper or brainstorm ideas about that intervention project proposal.

2. Network. You can always do this, but having some extra free time makes it more relaxing and gives you the advantage of doing networking that you typically would not have the time for. Maybe set up lunch with someone whom you typically would not be able to meet with. Connect with people on social media. For example, join in on some conversations via Twitter.

3. De-stress with family & friends. These people are your rock.  Now is the time that you have to put some attention on them. My family and friends are so supportive and understanding. They recognize that I have a lot on my plate right now, but whenever I need them they are there for me. Spring break was my time to really put in the extra effort to be there for them. I spent two weekends in Philadelphia, PA visiting friends I never have the chance to see. Additionally, I went down to Washington DC to spend the week with my family whom I rarely see. Catching up with friends, learning how to make corn beef and cabbage, as well as Irish soda bread, with my Aunt was just what I needed.

4. Spend quality time with yourself. It’s spring break! You’ve worked hard. You deserve time off. Utilizing your spring break isn’t all about work in terms of your profession or academia. In fact, it doesn’t have to be about that at all. Spring break is for you to do you. It gives you the much-needed time to work on yourself, which is just as important as your profession. Read a book for enjoyment, go for a walk/run, or watch a funny movie or maybe a sad movie – do you!

I hope you find these tips useful. I would love to hear about your spring break experiences. Feel free to comment below or connect with me on social media.
Twitter handle: @cpitts_

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/christinepitts/ 

Student Affairs - the First Years

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