Growing up, our schedule was pretty relaxed. There was school, of course, and other activities, but nothing like the litany of sports and social commitments and volunteer work that seems par for the course among modern families.
The one big exception, however, was December. Eleven months out of the year, we didn’t need a calendar to keep track of who needed to be where. But in December? Making the holiday calendar was a project of its own, let alone living it.
Whether you do Christmas like the Griswolds, have a lower-key holiday, or celebrate something completely different, odds are that your calendar’s a little more packed than normal each December. And while the craziness of the season is both anticipated and dreaded, for students there’s something else looming amid the baubles, tinsel, and baking: exams and papers.
With most courses wrapping up mid to late December, the busiest month of the year takes on a new meaning. Due dates and exam prep knock heads with tradition, and It’s hard to really enjoy the festivities when you know you should be studying or knocking out that paper.
As we near the end of November, It’s good to start thinking ahead. Do you have courses ending next month? Now’s the time to schedule exams–and be sure to take into account your invigilator’s holiday hours as well as your own plans.
If your courses have major papers coming due, don’t just pop the due date on the calendar; add developmental milestones, too, like outlining, major research, first draft, and so on. This will ensure that You’re not stuck scrambling at the last minute (while everyone else is enjoying cookies and hot cocoa in the living room).
With input from your family and friends, choose the most important events or gatherings and the can’t-miss traditions. Recognize that you may be unable to take part in everything during the holiday season, but That’s okay. Limiting your participation to those festivities that you can reasonably handle along with your studies means that you’ll actually enjoy the season instead of feeling guilty–or left out when you have to skip an event to cram for finals.
Planning for December studying is crucial both to academic success and holiday sanity, and the best way to handle both is to create a calendar based on your own needs. If the thought of the next months’s obligations has you in a panic, take an hour to outline your calendar, your deadlines, and your expectations. With a little planning, you can make the upcoming season a bit more joyful for everyone.