You’re not in Kansas – or kindergarten – anymore. Gone are the days of festive wordsearches and early home-times. And whatever your schoolteachers proffered, you can bet that stern professor isn’t going to be loading Balto into the lecture theatre projector.
But what when the last class shudders to a halt and the mass exodus begins from City campus? Sorry folks; you’re still a full-fledged uni student, and you need to approach your holidays like one.
Here’s what the grown-ups among you should be thinking about this Christmas.
Gosh. But it’s Christmas. Right? Nobody works at Christmas.
Tell that to the half million small-to-medium business owners who’ll be working every day this holiday – or the hospitality employees who’ll be averaging five hours sleep. Let’s get one thing straight: being a student is not hard labour, or at least not compared to those who live and work in the real world. So no martyr acts here, please.
Sure, everyone needs a break over Christmas. But if you’re planning on wasting every day on Netflix, you’re making a classic undergrad mistake. In January, the motivated people on your course will return to class with a head start, simply because they could be bothered to do something – anything – over vac. And it’s them, not you, who’ll be scoring Firsts come summer.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an hour a day or six. Over the course of this extensive uni vac, it shouldn’t be hard to save time for your academics.
“Oh my god! I missed the deadline for McKinsey/Lloyds/Lidl last week!” No crap, Columbo. In fact, in all the excitement of presents and trees and reindeer, you probably missed all the others too.
October through December is prime student recruitment time. All the big companies – i.e. the ones you want to work at – use this period to seek out candidates. Looking for a CV-boosting placement this summer? Leave things until January and nobody will want you anymore.
Whether you’re looking for something cool or something well-paid, you’re doing yourself no favours missing these deadlines. Apply, apply, apply – before it’s too late.
Okay, Christmas probably isn’t the time to go on a no-carb diet. But those precious weeks at home may be your perfect chance to make use of the family cross-trainer, or get on top of that sugar addiction, or read that book you’ve been eyeing for ages.
Thinking about starting an exercise regime? Now’s the time. Improved fitness not only affects your physical health but your mental wellbeing – essential in the run-up to exams. Fit individuals also see a hike in cognitive functions and concentration. Or maybe you’d rather learn to cook – a student essential.
Whatever it is, use your Christmas holidays logically. If you can’t find time for personal pursuits now, God knows you won’t back in halls.
No, we don’t mean academics.
The sad fact about uni is that it’s finite. In three years/two years/one measly set of six months, you’ll be cast from the warm hearth of full-time education and expected to make your way in the big, wide world. And, whatever it’s taught you, your degree won’t have prepared you for true, working independence. Just ask the 58% of graduates stuck in non-graduate jobs.
Being ready for the world of work is not about good grades. It’s about fostering resilience, developing business naus, managing expectations and understanding office politics. Most of all, it’s about deciding what you want to do with your life – something surprisingly few students have done by the time they graduate.
If you’re in your first couple of years, think about how you can maximise your employability over the next couple of years. If you’re a finalist, use this last pre-finals rest – because we all know Easter will be hairy – to seriously consider your options.
You won’t be a student forever. Plan accordingly. Through the haze of mulled wine and turkey, you can be sure that summer is coming.
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit their website.