Effective use of vacations for learning, leisure

Last Updated 23 April 2014, 14:18 IST
Summer vacations is the time which all look forward to. Both teachers and students need this break to rejuvenate and get back to academics.  

It is also a time to learn new skills, new concepts and to strengthen one’s knowledge in various subjects and topics. 
Since there is ample time and no pressure, learning can be fun and effective too. 
The hot summer months can be utilized to identify one’s interest and make use of the leisure hours.

The following points may help students in enjoying holidays as well as learning something new so that one can go back to academics with a sharp mind and a clear conscience that the holidays were useful and utilized.

Recognize your needs: Is it math you are weak in? Is it the accounting principles you were struggling with the previous semester? Or is your grammar poor? 

It may take some time to identify the problem areas but is worthwhile to analyse one’s weaknesses and recognize where you need help.
Take steps to overcome it: One might need an online course to help clear the doubts or to make concepts clear. Go ahead and take that course, even if some portion of it is already known to you. 
It will add to your resume as well as increase your confidence, not to mention the knowledge you have gained in the process. Courseera, Edex, Future learning and other avenues offer a vast and varied topics and subjects to learn. 

Browse for additional reading on the topic. Buy a book and make notes while spending lots of time on the tough concepts. 

Owning a book will make you feel less intimidated about the topic.

Do not get overwhelmed:  The sheer volume of the course/reference book should not put you off. 

Divide the topics into equal number of parts, so that it can be covered by the time the holidays get over.  

A lot lesser concepts in the beginning so that you get used to working at your own pace. A slow but regular reading will make you comfortable within a week.

Stick to routine: A couple of hours a day can easily be spared for acquiring knowledge. 

Keep this time free from browsing, calls and other distractions. 

The more seriously you take it, the more easily it is understood.

Get help: If it is very difficult to follow, ask a teacher or a senior to help you with the basics or initial part of the concept. 
Get help from online resources and make use of their live chat to clear doubts. 

Enlist a friend in this process: Working on a new concept along with a friend will motivate you and also give you company. 

This will work wonders for your friendship too as a healthy competition will bring you closer and add fun to learning. 

Challenge each other to complete assignments/exercises faster and in a better way.
Keep up the enthusiasm: Remember that you aren’t competing with anyone but aiming for excellence on your own.

If deadlines put you off, opt for self-paced courses which you can complete at your own comfort. 

Be careful, though, that this does not make you put off learning by giving excuses.

Set a goal and do not overdo it: Many of the online learning centres have a diverse number of courses in all fields and subjects, making one feel like taking up all together. 

Do not succumb to this temptation but choose only one at a time and opt for the one which ignites a passion in you. Also note the estimated time which has to be given per week to understand and complete assignments and make sure you are able to dedicate time accordingly.

Read, read and read more: This will widen your thinking and make you poised to handle exams and interviews in future. 

Start by meticulously reading the newspaper and make an effort to learn a few new words as well as their usage each day. 

This will increase your vocabulary and make you more fluent in the language. 
Do remember that a good mastery over a language will take you a long way while giving you an edge over others.

Make notes and keep a dairy: A thought which inspires you, a quote which makes you think, a new idea which popped up in your mind, a news item which caught your attention - all need to go in this dairy which can be a precursor to a future project or a research goal. 
Write it down and mull over it when you have free time. Let it germinate and sprout in your mind.
Do not treat this as a chore or a pressure: Studying during vacations is not a burden, in fact, it can help lessen a lot of your burden during the next academic year/semester. 
Plan your day so that you get enough time to relax, socialise and rest. Work your schedule around the time of learning so that at the end of the day you do not resent spending time on only one activity.
(Published 23 April 2014, 14:18 IST)

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