Everyone Having Fun Back At School?
Everyone glad to be back in the classroom, with a couple of coursework assignments already due, several key topics you fully don’t understand, and looming mock exams in two months time? Yeah, I thought not.
Despite this usually being two whole pages of study-wisdom, I’ve got something a little different this time. Instead of sitting here, yammering away about how to improve your studying, increase your motivation, and make the most out of your time, I’m going to do the opposite. I’m going to encourage you to take a break...
However, if your break started three years ago and seemingly hasn’t ended, I suggest you skip this article, and go read some of my previous ones, because I’m talking about a break day. Not a week, a month or a decade, no; a day.
I know exams are still a way off, and so it’s likely you haven’t started studying and revising yet, but in a few months’ time, there will be a little voice in the back of your head reminding you of the valiant words I’m about to share with you. It’s okay to take a break, and it’s definitely okay to take a day off if you’ve been dedicated throughout the rest of the week. At GCSE, I outright refused. I occasionally gave myself a morning or an afternoon off, but the thought of not touching my revision for a whole 24 hours made me want to cry. Not because I liked studying, but because I instantly thought “I’m gonna fail”…news flash; you won’t.
It wasn’t until A Level that I would allow myself one day off a week. During term time I made it a Sunday, however once we were on study leave, I would alternate it depending on my scheduled exams. If you over-do it, you’re going to put yourself in a far worse position. The education system is designed to get harder and harder each year, and we eventually reach a point where we need to give our brains a rest and stop forcing it to adapt at such a successive pace. By allowing your brain to go to sleep for a day by exposing it to three whole series of a TV show in one sitting, an assortment of trash content on YouTube, and a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s, (well, maybe not the whole tub) you are doing yourself a big favour.
Numerous psychology studies suggest that giving ourselves a large break during a prolonged period, as well as smaller 5-10 minute breaks across the day, boosts information retention significantly more than if you worked every day, but just had 2 x 30 minute breaks instead. Remember, not only is your brain trying to learn new information, retain it, remember previous information, remember how the mark scheme works, apply information correctly, remember a ton of criticisms as to why the information you spent 10 months learning may be a big bunch of hooey after all *takes a deep breath*, but it’s also working to keep you alive every day; making sure you eat, helping you move, helping you socialise.
He’s a busy little bee, and don’t take his incredible power for granted. The brain is a phenomenal thing, but even he gets bored of Pythagoras’ theorem and the 104 sociologists’ names you have to remember.
So what should you do on this day? Well, try and do something proactive for your brain, even if it’s just reading a fictional book, or a magazine, or doing a crossword. Try and get a bit of exercise too, even if it is just walking to your local shop for comfort-food (if you ask me, that still counts) to keep your brain and body healthy. Finally, just try and do the things you love, as keeping in a positive mindset is the healthiest thing you can do for your brain.