I know the conundrum; you have an awful lot of assignments that you’ve been given now that aren’t due until after you return from Christmas break in January, having coped with this exact problem for the last three years I feel I’ve gathered a few tips that will hopefully help you all out, and ensure you don’t have to reference while eating your pigs in blankets; because no one wants that.
1. Forward Plan
Grab your diary/ phone’s calendar/ a calendar and add in the deadlines of the assignments, now look at how much time you have to do each assignment. If it’s a problem sheet can you answer any of the questions now? Or at least have a good go? If it’s an essay can you plan it out and write a list of texts that you may have to reference? The earlier you figure out what you need the less panicky you’re going to be upon your return to University. Also if you have to hand your assignments in to the office in person, do you have enough cover sheets (if required) that state the module, your details and the deadline? Now’s the time to fill these in. It will save time on hand-in day and you’ll be in and out of that office in seconds.
Also it is worth noting that if you can qualify for extra time to do your assignments its worth doing it now- you have to have your application and reasoning (if medical) in early to have the date changed on your hand in day. The later you leave it you’l find you wont be able to apply anymore.
2. Team Together to Take Advantage
Are there any texts that you need that you wont have access to if you’re going home for the festive season? Not all texts in the University Library Catalogue have been made viewable online, journals are widely available online through any University Network but it’s going to be sods law that the book you need (that’s too expensive to own) wont exist. At most Universities you can scan in a certain percentage of the book to an email address (ask the Librarians if you’re unsure as they have to ensure you aren’t taking more than you are allowed). If you and any friends on the course team together and each scan your max percentage of the book to your email addresses you can share the pdf files between each other and then print off the pages you need. Et Voila! You have an offline copy to the texts you need when you need them and you’ve planned it all now (before the other students on the course even take out the book for Christmas break-savvy).
3. Ask Any Questions Now
Even though this is applicable to essay writing (where it’s slightly easier to get an answer via email) this point is more geared to problem sheets. Looking at the questions is there anything that you’re unsure of or if you’ve tried a question but the outcome isn’t as expected now is the time to attend your tutors drop in sessions and ask all your questions. Also check with them the weeks of the break that they will be on campus or available via phone/email so if you get really stuck you know when to contact. Believe it or not lecturers want a Christmas with their families too! By asking all your questions now and clarifying what certain statements, methods and proofs are at this point you hopefully wont be in the long queue outside your lecturers office the day before the assignment is due.
4. Give Yourself ‘Christmas’ Off
Most people go home for Christmas. This may be the first time that you’ve seen your family since you left and of course you’re going to want to meet up with your friends that went to different Universities and see how they’re coping with their courses/ accommodation/ those annoying people that make it onto every course. Set yourself a plan and stick to it. I’m not telling you to not go to the pantomime because you need to ensure you’ve correctly proved a statement. I’m just telling you to plan strategically around the events you have in your social calendar to ensure that you’re getting a good amount of your work done. Please give yourself Christmas off, don’t do any work on Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day. Those days are all about great TV, good food and family & Friends. Also do the same for New Year; enjoy yourself, you don’t want to be stuck in your room while everyone else is out counting down to midnight!
5. Finalise As You Go
Once you know you’ve got something that you want to hand in (a paragraph of an essay or a question on a problem sheet) write it up in neat/ type it up in a final document. There’s nothing worse than having to quickly write up everything perfectly the night before something is due/ compile a full list of references when you know that you could of been doing it all along to ease the burden on this the night before it’s due. This way your assignments will naturally come together and before you know it you might not have anything major to do the night before- perfect eh?
Obviously there’s many more tips and tricks and if you have any more I’d love to know. But hopefully this will help some of you manage the festive time and your University work load as seamlessly as possible (because we all know it never goes perfectly!)