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Home for the holidays

After a (surprisingly short) second term has almost come to a close and spring has at least made a first appearance in the city, it is time to prepare for Easter break and the exams that follow soon after. So of course, the question of where to spend my free time ahead arose and gave me a headache soon after. Is it better to stay where I am and concentrate on preparing for the assignments that lie ahead or to go back home and try my best to stay focused while also spending time with my family and friends?

In the end, I decided to spend two weeks of the Easter break at home in Germany. After I put in a lot of thought to get the most out of this time, I decided to write down what I came up with to share it with anyone who might face the same dilemma at some point in the future.

For once, it was important to me to set clear boundaries with myself and also with the people around me. While I had to remind them that I am not only here on holiday and actually have some work to do, I also had to remind myself that I need to take conscious breaks and enjoy the company of my family and friends, too.

Leaning onto this, it was really helpful to me to get rid of what I just call wasted time. By that, I basically just mean not spending time that was supposed to go towards one task with worrying about other things or any other form of procrastination. For example, when trying to work from home, I was not being productive because I worried about what other things I could be doing right now. Now that I am in Germany for once, should I not rather spend time with the people that I usually can’t see when I am at university? But it always went the other way around, too.

When trying to enjoy some free time, instead of relaxing, I would spend it worrying about assignments coming up and what tasks I should be working on right now. Making sure to consciously separate those two areas and putting in the effort to fully focus on one thing only has helped me tremendously, not only in getting more work done in a shorter amount of time but also in getting more enjoyment out of my time off. I know this sounds like very simple, intuitive advice, and it really is – but still, sometimes the easiest tips are actually the hardest to see through and it took me a while to actually integrate this into my everyday life. I hope it can be useful for some of you, too.