It’s been an exhaustingly long term as we trudge towards the Christmas holidays. If the sun doesn’t wake you up and disappears before you arrive home, at least the blindingly bright red nose of Rudolph on your window will bring some light. Especially if you’ve had to isolate lately, the days may seem to blur tediously together like a tangle of Christmas lights: checking emails for ucas offers, coursework, finding yourself on tiktok, work, having a nap that lasted too long…
To put it simply, things are getting a bit dull.
In this blog, I’ll be talking about how we can productively lift our spirits by discovering some new interests. ‘Tis the season of sharing and goodwill! Time seems to be as short as the fading sunlight, but luckily, there’s still 24 hours in a day. We can still make the most of it and break this cycle of yawns and staring at the ceiling. Whilst school teaches us that our aim should be to productively get school work done, this is far from the truth.
Yes, it is about being efficient at completing tasks, but productivity is not always about academic work.
With our two week long holiday coming up, it can be tempting to switch off completely, curl into the duvet and binge watch Nativity (it’s no shame to know the songs off by heart)! But, you can use this holiday to be productive at the same time. Ok, it’s not what you think. It doesn’t mean you get a revision timetable and obsessively start to make flashcards. There’s a different kind of productivity... let’s call it Productivity 2.0: Holiday Edition. Don’t panic, this isn’t frantically whipping out your glitter pens to make a coloured mindmap brighter than your Christmas tree and eat mince pies at the same time. In fact, don’t feel pressure to revise anything on your subject spec (although, a quick recap wouldn’t hurt).
With lockdown, tiers and isolation it can feel like you’ve been living in your own little bubble (pardon the pun). Try to spend the two week holiday productively by trying something new or learning about a topic of interest. Hopefully, your personal statement is done, so there’s no pressure to pretend that you like listening to podcasts on alkaline earth metals for fun (although, if that sounds fun for you, by all means go ahead). What’s something that you’ve been interested in lately? Maybe you’ve heard a lot about something on the news, or seen posts about it on your instagram feed. Do you want to educate yourself more on the political climate in a specific region or a global problem like climate change, which ranks as the top problem for teens? Whatever it is you're interested in- now’s the time to learn.
It may seem counterintuitive, but using social media can help you focus and discover some of your interests. Even though social media and technology addiction (along with climate change) are the top issues faced by teens today, there are some benefits to socially raising awareness online! Infographics on instagram give you a brief overview on a whole range of topics: from racial injustice and environmental inequality, to learning about the largest protest of farmers in India. The possibilities really are endless, by the end of the holiday, you could even aim to host a zoom call discussing the issues you found important, or engage in a discussion with friends and family. Now that’s what you call productive! See, I kept to my promise; productivity with no school work involved whatsoever.
So, why exactly would you choose to research global injustice instead of hibernating for two weeks? Well, for starters, think of all the interesting conversation starters you can pull out over Christmas Dinner! There are so many documentaries on BBC iplayer and Netflix, not to mention countless podcasts and books. Nobody ever said you can’t watch ‘Elf’ and scroll through the #makeamazonpay tweets at the same time. Being informed on what’s going on in the world is really important, not only because they may impact you, but in order to increase social awareness for independent thinking. All this information can get overwhelming, but it’s also good to know that we can make a change. Just by reading this, you're showing a greater interest to further your own knowledge. Being passionate about what's going on in the world and doing your bit (even if that’s just signing some petitions) to help out is really rewarding. After all, we have to create the world that we want to live in! Researching new interests might even lead you to discover something completely new, perhaps a field you’d want to work on in the future. So, there we have it, a rewarding holiday productivity. Merry Christmas!
Here’s a few links for inspiration:
General (includes some subheadings from below):
racism links with petitions
(more in general)
Issues in other regions:
ANISHA MINOCHA is a sixth form student from Manchester, hoping to study English Literature and Spanish at university. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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