Ask LH: What Should I Do During My University Break?

Ask LH: What Should I Do During My University Break?

Hi Lifehacker, I have just finished my spring session for university, and only have exams to go. I was wondering if you have any tips on things I can do in my university break before I go back in early March? I already have a job and play a sport, but having another 48 hours free a week, I feel like if I don’t have any plans I’ll fritter the time away. Thanks, Keeping Busy

Sleeping picture from Shutterstock

Dear KB,

Looking back at university from the perspective of a couple of decades, this is my firm advice: there is nothing wrong with frittering away some of your time. Studying is hard work. Enjoy the break while you have the chance. Not absolutely every spare minute of your day has to be planned. That’s the case no matter how old you are, but it’s especially true of university. Enjoy the freedom. You won’t always have it.

No-one can accuse you of being lazy. You already have a job; you’re already keeping fit. If the urge to do something grabs you, go and do it, but don’t make yourself feel bad just because you haven’t plotted out every second of your day. You’ll be back in that world soon enough when study resumes for you in March.

You did ask for suggestions, and there’s no shortage of possibilities. Take part in NaNoWriMo and write a novel. Teach yourself to code. Volunteer for a local charity. Digitise all your older family photos. Audition for the X-Factor. Start planning a holiday for when you finally finish university.

We’d love more suggestions from readers as well, but don’t grab onto an idea just for the sake of doing something. Do something that reaches out and screams “I must do this now!”


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  • I’m in a similar situation – just finishing the HSC, so I’m free until March. I’ve made a ‘bucket list’ of things I can do, but I don’t expect to do all of them. It’s more for those times when I realise I’ve been sitting on the couch playing Professor Layton all day and can’t think of something better to do – I can just pick something from the list to try.

    But to be perfectly honest, I think I’ll be spending a lot of time catching up on TV I missed during the last two months!

  • i’m in a similar boat.. handed in my last TAFE assignment yesterday and also got a super mega early uni offer for 2014. i don’t have a job so i think i need to go on centerelink for a month before i can go on austudy. i have done all the enrolment i can and gotten my ID so i’m miles ahead of the curve

  • I am in the same boat, however it will be my last ‘free summer’. I’ll be graduating next year. I’ve been thinking to take up a research position at university for the summer. But came back from the decision, just because, it will be my last ‘free summer’.
    I want to do nothing, I want to get late out of bed, I want to watch crappy movies, I want to read LF, I want to enjoy summer,… before ‘real life’ is presented and free summers will be history. (Even though I might do a PhD)

  • Take advantage of your additional free time to just faff about, but I think it’s also important to ‘achieve’ something over the break too. You could do some additional study in something that interests you (many universities offer summer courses – or there’s the plethora of MOOC options), do some volunteer work that’s relevant to your program of study, pick up some extra paying work to save some dosh for a post-uni gap year (something I’d really encourage) or learn a skill you’re interested in (which can be tricky as many courses etc. also close over the summer). Life maintenance stuff can also be good, getting your finances in order, your own medicare card, advancing your driver’s license, ensuring you’re enrolled to vote, understanding your tax and chucking old crap out and organising your stuff in your parents place (even if you’re living elsewhere during the semester or have moved out completely you probably still have a whole bunch of crap laying around there).

    I kind of disagree with the ‘I must do this now’ measure in the article. Summer is a perfect time to do something you’ve been putting off for a while too.

  • Unless you’re becoming a teacher, then never again in your working life will you have months off at a time. As Angus said, don’t feel guilty about doing “whatever”. I don’t believe there’s really such a thing as “wasting” holidays, as long as you spend them how you want.

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