Why are vacations important to students

Why semester breaks have nothing to do with free time

by Tim Reichel

Finally vacation.

The lectures are over and the semester break has started. Time to relax and unwind and relax.

Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that!

I've had to listen to this crap so often: Semester break means free time. Students are lazy anyway and don't know what real work is. During the semester break, these lazy sacks can stay at home and don't even have to sit in the classroom.

Are you familiar with that?

This stupid cliché often comes from one's own parents, friends who don't study or from people who last saw the inside of a university 100 years ago. In short: from people who have no idea.

If you get annoyed with that too, this article is for you. I'll show you a few points of argument so that you will never be speechless again when someone tries to explain how your studies are going.


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There are no more semester breaks

It is a myth that semester breaks automatically mean a lot of free time. In the past, 10-20 years ago, it may have been like that, but at the latest since the switch to the Bachelor-Master system, little has been left of the holidays.

The classic semester break is no longer there.

The period at the end of the semester is therefore no longer called “semester break”, but rather “lecture-free time”. And this time is tough. There will be no more university events, but the students still have a lot to do.

If the bottom line is that 3-4 weeks of free time are left for vacation and relaxation, that's a lot.


The lecture-free period is full of pick-packs

But why exactly do the so-called “semester breaks” have nothing to do with free time?

Quite simply: During the semester break, the most important things of the entire semester have to be written: exams have to be written, internships completed, theses completed and important organizational tasks taken on.

This means that the semester break is filled with a tight program and plays a key role in your semester planning. You could almost say:

The lecture-free period is the most stressful period of the entire semester.

Let's take a closer look at that.


Examination period and exam phase

After the lectures come the exams.

As a rule, the lecture period is followed by the official examination phase of the semester. During this period, exams are written and oral exams are held.

If you were able to coordinate your exam dates well and were very lucky with the planning, your exams will be over in a few weeks. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. The examination phase often extends over several months and takes up a large part of the semester break.

It not only depends on how many exams you want to take, but also on the sequence of the various exam dates.

Have you ever written three exams in one week? Then it's better to postpone an exam to the second date and prepare the exam material properly. Of course, every exam has to be passed on the first attempt - otherwise the exam phase will take longer or be postponed until the next semester.

And don't forget: every exam has to be prepared! Repeating learning material and preparing lecture material are part of the exam phase. Just like the organization of your exam dates.


Writing a thesis

Study or final papers are a special type of examination. Regardless of whether it is term paper, seminar paper, bachelor thesis or master’s thesis: such study papers are often done during the semester break.

When else do you have the time to write a scientific paper and think deeply into a complex topic?

Even if student work is started during the regular semester, the submission deadline is often during the semester break. Stress is inevitable.


Do an internship

Additional laboratory or industrial internships are provided for in many degree programs. Such a compulsory internship is usually completed during the semester break or, depending on the university, can last until the semester break.

Even if you can complete the internship during the regular semester times, the application phase often falls during the lecture-free period.

If it is a compulsory internship, you also have to prepare a comprehensive internship report. Depending on the duration of the internship, the area of ​​activity and the guidelines of your university, this can take a few days.

Many students also consciously use the semester break to do one or the other internship. In this way, first practical experience can be gained. In addition, you improve your résumé and in the best case scenario you can still earn something.

The internships have one thing in common: relaxing semester breaks are gone.


Work and make money

The semester break is a great time to look for a student job and work. Not only can you gain practical experience, but above all you can top up your account a little. After all, a sensible student lifestyle must be financed.

The special thing about the semester break: During this time you can work more than during the lecture period without incurring extra costs for health and long-term care insurance.

If you are already working during the semester, you can use the semester break to catch up on absenteeism or to build up a small cushion for the coming lecture period.


Make up for annoying compulsory tasks

Quite a lot remains during the semester. Important university appointments, compulsory courses and exams take priority.

That's why you can use the lecture-free time to catch up on things that have not been done and to work off important mandatory tasks.

For example, you can finally tidy up the student apartment or sort and store your documents from the last semester properly. A tidy study and an emptied computer immediately create a better mood and make the stress of learning disappear.

You can also do something for your social and family life during the semester break: visit your parents or grandparents again (additional income) or meet old friends who you haven't seen for a long time.

You can make the most of this time so that you don't start the new semester with chaos and open to-do lists.


Preparation and planning of the next semester

During the semester break you also have to plan something in advance and take care of the coming semester. Because: If you put your feet up during the lecture-free time and just let the new semester approach you, you are making a big mistake.

When planning your semester, you should think in advance which modules and events you would like to attend. For many courses you have to register in advance or even apply to participate. Therefore, find out about your options and make a rough selection of modules.

If there are new examination regulations for the coming semester, you should definitely read them once so that you know what to expect. You should also include the most important semester dates in your planning now.

Your preparation also includes: organizing and planning a possible semester abroad, drawing up a rough timetable or writing an application for the next scholarship.


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Semester breaks are not “real holidays” and have little to do with free time.

During this time there will be no more lectures, but there will be some key activities of your semester. In this post I have put together a small selection of them for you and shown why the lecture-free time can be the most stressful time in the entire semester.

The next time you have to hear that you have so much vacation and free time, you can list some of the points and finally dispel this persistent myth.

But no matter what your semester break looks like at the end: Make the most of it and enjoy the little free time you have!

PS: If you want to use your time better and study more relaxed, then check out my book - the Bachelor of Time. Please this way (click!)