How to stay focused on your studies during the holidays

When the holidays come around, it can be hard to focus on your studies.Once the calendar turns to late October, it’s time to start celebrating some of the most popular holidays of the year – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. The weather is usually still crisp and cool in most places, people are excited to spend time with their friends and families, and students everywhere can look forward to getting a little bit of time off school.

With all of that celebrating and free time, college students can be more susceptible to losing focus on their studies, making the end of the year one of those times that requires extra effort and determination. If you’re in veterinary technician college, taking classes in medical billing, working your way through a pharmacy program or pursuing any other line of study, it’s imperative that you don’t let the holidays keep you from being successful as you work toward a degree.

Blocking out distractions

There are always distractions aplenty if you’re a college student. And when the holidays roll around, all of those factors, along with the added family and seasonal obligations, can make it even more difficult to put the necessary time and effort into your studies.

That’s why discipline is the best gift many college students can receive in their stockings. You should be sure to cherish and enjoy the special time you spend with your family and friends, but it’s important that you manage to balance your schedule between fun and studying.

Holiday study tips

Here are a few helpful hints to help you make it through the holidays without losing academic momentum:

  • Plan ahead.1 Fill out a calendar, starting with the days you know you will be spending with family and friends celebrating the holidays. Then, work out where you can fit in study time. You will probably need to make some compromises. For instance, after taking all of Thanksgiving off, maybe skip Black Friday and use the time to catch up on school work.
  • Take your books with you. It can be tempting to leave your school work behind when you go visit your family. But you should always take everything with you. You never know when you’ll find time to get some work in.
  • Use family and friends as a resource.2 You will probably be around people who can help you with your work, whether they are family members who know something about what you’re studying or friends who are pursuing similar programs at other schools. Take advantage of your time with them and ask questions.

1 Lucier, Kelci Lynn, “How to Manage Your Homework During a College Break,” About.com. http://collegelife.about.com/od/academiclife/a/breakhomework.htm
2 Johnston, Lori, “Big Test: Studying During the Holidays as an Adult Student,” Collegesurfing.com, Nov. 14, 2011. http://www.collegesurfing.com/blog/big-test-studying-during-the-holidays-as-an-adult-student/