Christmas and Uni: How to Do Both

As term is ending, we must be all looking forward to a well-earned break. But workloads and deadlines are still looming. November becomes December and then December becomes January. Blogger Iona discusses how to keep your uni head on during the Christmas holidays.

November hasn’t even ended and the snow is upon us, Christmas colours are sprinkled everywhere like confetti, and shops and cafes are selling cinnamon, spiced and festive drinks for twice the price just because they are Christmas branded. Suddenly all events require something red and green or a string of tinsel to meet the dress code and time is taken up sorting going home plans and Christmas presents. Despite the all-encompassing feel Christmas can bring upon life, students know how university work is ignorant to the festive season. It certainly doesn’t stop just because we would like it to.

For some of us the excuse of having to do university work may come as a blessing during family gatherings, for others it is a bugging thought in the back of our mind. So how do we handle our university work whilst in the festive season.

Identify what university work you have

Do you have exams after Christmas? Do you have course work due during or after Christmas? Do you have lectures or reading to catch up from term one? Do you have any pre-reading or work to do for term two? Are there any ongoing projects that need attention? Don’t just rely on your peers for this information, look at your courses pages to find exam, assessment and other information for due dates and timings. This way you know where you stand and what you need to get done.

Once you have identified what you need to do, create a list with all the specific jobs on. An example is shown below

Christmas work to do list:

  • PS376 lecture notes for week 9
  • PS987 course work (essay)
  • Revise for exam PS321

Plan in your work

Christmas is hectic! There is often a lot going on, plus aren’t we all a bit shattered from term one? Planning your work in is essential, but this should also include planning in some rest to recover from the term. It is the Christmas break after all! Personally, I like to split my work into modules and then from there assign certain tasks to each week of the holidays. To do this I write each module at the top of a sticky note and stick all the sticky notes onto a blank piece of paper. Then using the list created above, I write down each of the tasks for the module on the sticky note. Using different colour highlighters, I then highlight each task based on which week I am going to do it. This way you can distribute the work based on how busy each of the weeks are, or even not put any work on one week in order to have a break.

I find this process allows me to get my head around what work needs done and I often am less overwhelmed when things feel more manageable. At the start of each week, I normally assess what has been done last week to make sure everything was completed. Then I plan the current week, assigning different tasks to different days and picking up anything I didn’t get done. This also allows for a chance to review if any of the tasks need more or less time than initially thought, especially revision tasks which can be hard to judge.

Be specific

When it comes to procrastination, it is much harder to engage in when specific tasks are on your list. If your task is ‘revise module PS987’, it is easy to think ‘what on earth does that include?’ and then not do anything. Hence, it is really important to write specific steps down for bigger tasks and decide how many of these steps you intend to do before sitting down to do the task. Step by step work habits are a good way to prevent missing out anything important as well! It may also help with a feeling of achievement if your Christmas period is busy and you’re not sure how much you can get done.

Of course getting work done over Christmas is important, but so is enjoying time at home with your family or with yourself. Enjoy the time you are not studying and allow yourself a chance to get your energy levels up before the new term begins!

What are your plans for the Christmas break? Do you have any top tips for keeping on top of your work in between the turkey and mince pies? Let us know! Drop us a comment below, tweet us @warwicklibrary or email us at

If you want to read more about balancing study and relaxation, take a look at our post Four Ways to Make the Most of your Break or if you know you’ve got essays and exams coming up, have a read of Thinking About Assessments. If you want to browse all of the study blog posts, check out our Contents page.

3 thoughts on “Christmas and Uni: How to Do Both

  1. Really good advice. I’d add onto your tip about being specific and say to set SMART study goals, making them specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-constrained. Only when my goals are SMART, do I find them much easier to start and finish 🙂

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