How to Stay Focused During the Holiday Season

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During the holiday season, many students will find themselves on a well-deserved break from school. While we certainly hope your holiday season is relaxing and fun, we also recommend using this time to get ready for next year. It's easy for students to get used to a certain lifestyle during time off which can make the transition back to school jarring. Here are Tutor Doctor's tips on how to stay focused during the holiday season!

1) Plan out any projects right away. Many teachers use the holiday break to assign large projects. Most students find themselves with a minimum of two weeks off, which makes it very easy to procrastinate. We often see large research-based projects given out around this time – not only is it the end of the fall semester, but teachers often encourage “hands-on” learning and expect students to use the holiday break to complete a cumulative project. The last thing you want is to find yourself rushing at the last minute, staying up late to glue together a project the night before it's due. We recommend making a plan as soon as your vacation starts. It's best to organize the steps first and complete any large projects gradually, rather than putting off the work until winter break is already coming to a close.

2) Make a schedule to get homework and/or holiday assignments completed. Teachers may assign homework packets or holiday-themed assignments during the break. It's also not uncommon to see students be given assigned readings or small writing assignments. As with larger projects, it's best to get these things done in advance – the quality of your work will suffer if you leave everything until the last minute. We've seen everything from journal-keeping assignments to take-home exams given out to students during the break, so make sure to get a head start!

3) Keep a regular sleeping schedule. Definitely give yourself time to get some well-deserved rest. Everyone needs to sleep in once in a while! However, it can be easy to fall into a cycle of going to bed late and waking up at unreasonable times. If you become accustomed to getting out of bed at noon for two weeks, the sudden transition of having to wake up at 7am for school is going to be difficult and unpleasant. At the minimum, try to get your sleeping schedule “back on track” at least a few days before school is set to resume.

4) Acquire materials you may need next semester. The spring semester is coming up – if you have been given a list of materials you need to acquire (or you know you're going to need a new notebook, binder, etc.), get your shopping done during winter break! The first couple weeks back in school are going to be hectic, and having all your materials already available will be one less thing to worry about.

5) Review concepts you could use more practice with. We know it's a long shot – but if you have extra time over the winter break, review any concepts you had trouble with! We understand that students may not want to spend their entire break devoted to academic review, but even watching a few short videos or accessing online resources is a great way to get extra practice. You'll be glad you did when school is back in session and concepts you practiced are now easier to approach!

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