Stay on top of your School Work while taking a week off from college + Enjoy it 100% Guilt-Free
How would you like to enjoy a guilt-free study break, taking a week off from college? Maybe even a break where you’re not only guilt-free but actually proud to be taking time away from school?
I have summer vacation on my brain lately. The weather is starting to warm up and I’m looking forward to taking a week off with my family to relax and enjoy the beach. What I won’t be doing is working.
We take one family vacation each year and I commit to it. For me, that means no worries about checking email and I’m slow to respond to text messages from friends. Instead, I try to soak in every last ray of sunshine and saltwater. And I feel 0% guilty about not working during the week or distracted with thoughts of what I should be doing instead. No distractions and no guilt make it a week that supercharges me. I’ve carried this tradition for years through different jobs and while balancing a full-time job and graduate school.
Who’s ready to take a week off from college with me?
There are plenty of reasons you might want an extended break from classes and studying and can’t fit it between semesters or terms. You may want to plan a trip for:
- kid’s spring break trip
- family vacations
- visiting family during the holiday
Or you might need to take a trip for work (life can’t always be fun). With any of these types of extended trips, you would need several days, or even a week off during the semester, and yes, you can do it guilt-free.
taking a week off from college Guilt-Free
As we keep strategizing, I’m going to assume you are planning on taking a week off from college and it isn’t spontaneous. If it’s the latter, things may get dicey! To make it work, you need to plan ahead. Bonus: it also helps you create free time
Planning helps you avoid the panic and overwhelm that often comes with a long break from school work. We want to frontload our work prior to the trip so there aren’t distractions while we are away.
Forward planning is also a huge positive. When planning ahead you enjoy the anticipation of the time off right now. While you’re thinking about what needs to be done, you’re also thinking about relaxing and downtime, which gives us those feel-good vibes immediately. Picturing my family floating in the ocean and generally loafing around together has me feeling warm and fuzzy right now!
Here’s how we make the magic happen, guilt-free:
1. Manage Deadlines
The first thing you need to plan for and manage deadlines. If you are already using a calendar to keep track of your college assignments, this is cake. About a month out from your week off, look ahead to see what is due the week before, week of, and the week after your trip. Look out for:
- School Events
- exam dates
- special lecture material
- required assignments
- Work Events
- Personal Events & Appointments
You want to look at the weeks before and after your time off as well because planning for the buffer around your trip saves a lot of stress.
Let’s say you have an exam the week before and you don’t focus on it. Heck, it doesn’t even register. Instead, you are focused on writing a paper due while you will be away. You map out your timeline for writing the paper and work really hard. You’re on track to finish up on time, but then you see the exam coming up in three days and you just now noticed it!
Now the paper has to be put aside to cram for the exam and you’ll end up working during your week off to finish the paper. The same thing happens if there is an important commitment right after your week off from college. If you allow those things to sneak up on you, you will be scrambling and stressed trying to finish them.
Save yourself a headache by looking at the weeks surrounding your time off. Buffer is a beautiful thing, friend.
2. Work Ahead
Now you know exactly what needs to be done, it’s time to get to work. If you have an assignment due the week you are off, your deadline just got moved up and you need to complete and submit it before you take a week off from college.
Let’s say I’m taking off this week in January and have a paper due on the 18th. That’s in the middle of my trip, so my personal due date just became the 12th. Doesn’t matter when my classmates are turning it in. I have to get it done before I leave and turn it in before my professor leaves for the weekend.
While in a busy season of life (aka, going to college while working full time), planning and time management are crucial skills. They are even more important when you need to take time off. I like to get my plan in place 3-4 weeks prior to any trip so I have plenty of time to get everything done. For the vacation example above, I’m planning in December to account for the holidays as well.
When starting the process early you don’t need to tackle a lot each day to finish on time (even with deadlines moved up). While you’re working ahead, try out some strategies to fit in study time at work, and don’t forget my top tip for managing your time effectively.
Map out your action plan, and don’t forget to communicate this! If you have an important deadline due at work or school, speak with your professor or boss. Let them know you’ll be away but you have a plan to get the work done before you leave.
3. Disconnect While taking a week off from college
Finally, make this strategy really work and totally worth it by following through. If you do the hard work of planning ahead and working ahead, finish it off by disconnecting for the week. Leave your computer behind, don’t check your schoolwork compulsively. You might plan to check your school email once or twice just in case an emergency comes up, but don’t log in every day and don’t reply unless it is urgent.
Enjoy the leisure time and come back to the real world recharged, not exhausted from trying to work while on vacation. When you commit to disconnecting and being present in your time off you will have a renewed energy and motivation to jump back in when the trip is over.
What other strategies do you use to taking a week off from college?
Try It Yourself: 10-minute Challenge
- Grab your calendar, some paper, and a pen.
- Make a list of all your school commitments, work commitments, and personal commitments for the week you are taking off from college.
- List your commitments the week prior and the week following your break.
- For each commitment, break down what needs to be done, creating an action plan for each one.
- Schedule out each action between today and when your week off begins.
- Get to work now so you can enjoy the time off later!