Towards the end of the first semester, just when you think you can finally put the books down and sleep all day, you're hit with the big boys...essays, MCQ, presentations etc. Normally these assessments are due in at the start/middle of January and make up most of your marks that determines your semester 1 grade. So, let's not forget they are important and sometimes you do need to bring up Word instead of Netflix on your laptop. BUT, your University will acknowledge that the winter holidays are time for family, friends, indulging and relaxation so often they give you quite a bit of warning and ensure campus is a bit more elaborate and joyful than normal to get you in the spirit.
That being said I am in my second year now I can now approach these assessments with a lot more respect than I did in my first year...
What I find helpful:
Keep on top of your lectures, notes, and reading...I know it cuts most of your lie ins short but you'll be giving future you a huge hug. By doing this, not only are you less stressed on the weekends while at Uni but you can solely focus on your assessments over the Winter break instead of catching up.
Remain organised - have folders for your modules and even keep a planner, doing this saved my brain the extra work trying to figure out my days.
Don't let yourself fall out of a good sleeping pattern, it can be tempting on a Thursday after an eventful sports night to sleep all day but sometimes getting up and doing small tasks or admin can give you such a serotonin boost. Accomplishing something small on these slightly 'harder' days will make you feel a whole lot better about your productivity.
Figure out which question you want to answer in your assessment as soon as you can, this means you can look out for specific useful information in lectures and you can search for useful sources and critics earlier on (save yourself the panic...use the library).
Mindfulness, meditation and remaining intact with you spiritual awareness and intellect. This is a concept I value heavily as I progress through my second year (not only in exam season), making sure you feel a closeness to yourself, your surroundings, your worth and your abilities is essential because you can achieve whatever you desire if you believe it.
-> Here is some links to read up on the basics...
-> Books I highly suggest (all available on Amazon):
'Good Vibes, Good Life' Vex King (his Instagram is also AMAZING)
'You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life' Jen Sincero
'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life' Mark Manson
'101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think' Brianna West
Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential' Dr. Carol S. Dweck
Buy yourself a wellness journal
Home for the Christmas Holidays?
When to Go & How to Do It Cheaply
Most students tend to leave the on the weekend when term finishes, normally on Sunday as its known to have one last big weekend in town before heading back for the holidays and facing the next round of work (ง •̀_•́)ง ผ(•̀_•́ผ). If you're one who doesn't really thrive on public transport then try to book early and off peak, avoiding Sunday midday especially in my experience.
Typically students car share, which proves pretty cheap when your solely splitting petrol and also travelling with your friends and not on an overcrowded train.
However, many also take the train which has its perks, being often faster than driving and you know exactly what time you will arrive. But you need to book your ticket, and I suggest booking a seat as well considerably early on. Booking through Trainline is the way to go, most students have a railcard as a result of obtaining student debit cards, however you can also buy them for a reasonable price through this company. It compares all the prices for you whilst giving you live updates, but prices go up so beware and try to book off peak to avoid the mass of students.
Approaching the end of term means one thing, your pockets are most likely empty. Don't stress, most of us face this sad reality, but an easy option is grabbing the coach. I know it may not be the most luxurious form of travel, but companies such as Flixbus and Megabus do trips to a variety of cities for as cheap as £1 which includes a seat reservation.
Affordable, Student Friendly Trip Ideas - SkyScanner is your new best friend
I took my first holiday outside the UK just a week ago now with two of the people closest to me to Playas Las Americas, South Tenerife - 4.3 ★ hotel, 4 nights, breakfast and dinner included, flights and transfer included for £308.
Originally, we were planning on going to a city like Amsterdam or Paris (dependent on COVID) but instead we decided to go for the sun and it did not disappoint. A lot of students decide to work over summer and save aside a certain amount of money a week using a saving scheme however I was lucky enough to get some money from my parents for my 20th birthday. We knew in September we would NEED a holiday in December and we also grew tired of the lovely Leeds weather so began our search.
We flew from Leeds Bradford Airport straight after term finished, it was only a 15/20 minute drive and is rather small. If like me you get a bit overwhelmed at airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick, this one is a great option, it's rather cheap, the staff are extremely accommodating, and there are practically no queues.
Also, a tip of mine is to not pre-book your seats, because of COVID some rows should be empty for you to sit in and you can arrange this at the airport easily (save your bucks).
Flying just after term ends or a week before it starts again is key as is booking early, this is often an off-peak time as many of the private and public schools will be retuning and family holidays would have come to an end. For example, we went off-peak and to go literally a week later would have been £700 more expensive.
Package Holiday Websites
On the Beach - we used this site for our holiday and I would recommend it to anyone I know, they sorted everything for us so on the day we suffered absolutely no stress and the journey was smooth sailing. They searched through a variety of hotels in Tenerife with the filters we submitted and found the best deals for us whilst sorting our flights and transport.
TUI - this company is particularly great if you don't just want to sit on the beach all day or daze off by the pool. It's exceptional at searching for great activities and experiences to include in your package.
Jet2 Holidays - I am using this company to book my trip to Budapest in January (if COVID allows me to). They do amazing winter deals and fly to an abundance of great locations, whilst excelling in providing cheap city breaks. Very student friendly.
This is a website that allows you to search for the cheapest flights form the cheapest
airports. What I love about this site is that you can simply put the destination as 'Everywhere' and it will generate a list of countries and its cities in price order form low to high.