Making the most of the holidays

The holidays can slip past quickly - find out how to make the most of them.

How much can you do?
While the summer holiday is long enough for a big range of activities, fitting things in to shorter holidays like Christmas and Easter can be tough. It's important that you think carefully about how much you can realistically manage - trying to do too much might mean that you don't end up doing anything properly.
Work, work experience and volunteering
Working during the holidays gives you a chance to earn more than you can at evenings and weekends, but it might also give you a chance to widen your experience by working on something new. Whether this is possible will depend on where you are working, but letting your manager know that you have more time available and are interested in trying new things won't hurt.

There may also be seasonal work opportunities available in the holidays. For example, leisure and tourism jobs are easier to get in the summer, while shops take on more staff in the runup to Christmas.

But the holidays are also a chance to get more relevant work experience than you can get when you're fitting work in around school. Think about the kind of jobs you might be interested in doing, and get in touch with organizations to ask about getting a placement. You probably won't get paid, but you'll be a step ahead when you start your career.

Volunteering is also a good way to get experience, and may be easier to get in to. This could be with a big national charity, or with a smaller local organisation. Look for a cause you are interested in - but also think about the kind of volunteer work you would ideally like to do.

You'll need to start thinking about both work and work experience well before the holiday starts - it can be a slow process. The more time you give yourself to get organized, the more likely you are to get the job or placement you want.

Study, revision and coursework
It can be hard to be enthusiastic about studying during the holidays, but it can make a big difference once you return to school, college or university. To get the biggest benefit:

  • Set goals for what you want to achieve during the holiday. This could be something like finishing a particular piece of coursework, completing a certain number of practice exams. Having something to aim for will help you to feel more like you're achieving something and less like you're missing out on the holiday.
  • Plan your time, so that you have fixed work sessions. This helps to make sure that you actually do the work instead of putting it off to the last day of the holiday - but it also makes sure that you don't spend the whole holiday buried in your books.
  • Prepare for when you go back: The upside to holiday work is being less busy and more relaxed when you go back to school, college or university, so think about which tasks will give you the biggest benefit when the holiday is over.
Hobbies and interests
Whatever your hobbies, you probably look forward to having more time to spend on them during the holidays. Planning ahead can mean you get even more out of it. Before the start of the holiday, look around for events, meetups or classes you could go to, or think about a goal you want to achieve before the holiday ends.

This won't just help you to enjoy the break - it also demonstrates initiative and builds experience. Both are invaluable when applying for jobs or university.
While holidays are a good opportunity to fit in things you wouldn't normally have time for, it's also important to take the opportunity to relax, see your friends and enjoy yourself. Not only is it important to look after yourself, trying to work too hard can be self-defeating if you end up too exhausted to get the most out of what you're doing. Make sure you're leaving enough time to relax before the holiday is over.
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