Holiday Havoc

Holidays can play havoc with your study schedule. Whether It’s your own vacation, or the upcoming Christmas/New Year’s holidays, the effect is similar. You need to make plans to minimize disruption to your studies.

Have you looked at the calendar yet? There’s still time to plan ahead and keep your studies flowing smoothly.
If your life, work, and studies revolve around a traditional M-F workweek, you’ll find this year’s holiday season packs a double punch. Christmas Eve kicks off the season in the middle of one week, and New Year’s Day falls later the following week. With pre- and post-holiday activities, two weeks can easily disappear from your schedule.

Your Very Own Holiday Schedule
The holiday schedule you create is not going to look exactly like any other student’s. First, check the calendar and figure out what’s going on in your life and when. Consider your work schedule, get-togethers with family and friends, and any holiday travel. Next, review what you want and need to get done on your courses over the holiday period. Somehow, you’ll have to make it all work! There’s no magic solution, but the earlier you begin planning, the better you’ll feel prepared.

AU’s Holiday Schedule
You might have seen the news post, or received the e-mail. Now It’s time to actually read it and consider how AU’s holiday closures affect you. In a nutshell, AU’s offices are closed from 3pm December 24 and don’t reopen until January 5 (with “reduced operations” on January 2.) That’s 11 consecutive days; a significant period of downtime. Although you can still log in to your myAU account and continue your studies, most other AU services will be unavailable. A few specific considerations for AU students follow.

Exam Requests
Exams are not shipped during AU’s holiday closure. If you plan to write an AU exam in early January, make sure you get your request in early enough for the exam unit to process it. You can review the exam request deadlines in Undergraduate Calendar here.

Course Completion Date of December 31
If you have a course with a December 31 completion date, AU has special provisions in regards to exams. Exam request deadlines must still be met but “exams requested prior to the University closure for courses with a contract end date of December 31 must be completed no later than January 15 of the following year.” All your course work, assignments, essays, quizzes, however, must still be completed by December 31. Read the full details in the Holiday Closures and Examinations section of AU’s undergraduate calendar. Contact the Exam Unit at examunit@athabascau.ca if you need more information.

Tutor Support and Student Support Centre Services
Unless you’ve heard differently from your tutor, assume they will not be available during AU’s holiday closure dates. If you’ll be working on a course assignment during the holidays, review the requirements ahead of time to make sure you know what you need to do. Get your questions in well before the holidays, or plan to wait until early January for a response.

Library Materials
AU’s Library will also be closed for the holidays and will reopen January 2. The library website will remain accessible throughout. If you want library materials shipped to you before the holiday closure, get your request in by December 18. There are further considerations for inter-library loan requests; read the full notice on the AU Library website.

Perhaps you planned ahead wisely and can take a break from your studies. Perhaps You’re hoping that the holidays will provide you with a bit of extra time for AU courses Or, like me, maybe You’re doing a holiday juggling act to make it all work. However you spend your time over the upcoming holidays, at little advance planning can reduce holiday havoc.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario

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