I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas break so far.
I feel such excitement for Christmas – I will be spending time with my family and friends, although I still have work to do with my assignments due in January. I have been described as someone who is prone to working ‘too hard’, so I thought I would focus this blog on ways to chill out and enjoy Christmas time!
When I look back to my first year at university, I wish that I had placed less pressure on myself. It really is a year of learning – learning to adapt to living alone, the university way of life, how to manage your time and the best ways to approach the different forms of studying. It is a year of progression and one that should be enjoyed – not one that should be spent being stressed. I’m not suggesting that you spend your first year drunk instead of attending lectures and seminars, but it is important you enjoy yourselves alongside managing your workload. Time really does fly (everyone always says that, but it genuinely does). Now in my second year studying Social Policy, I have just 8 contact hours a week (split between lectures and seminars), with a lot of independent reading set, so it is important to get the work-life balance right!
Despite the university term having come to an end at the beginning of December, the city centre is just starting to buzz and there is always something going on. You can go and watch the festivities begin at the Christmas light switch-on, or search for the ice sculptures dotted around on the ‘York Ice Trail’. You could join in at the Minster and sing some carols, or go to a pantomime put on by the university.
My favourite way to chill out in York over Christmas is to wander round the Christmas markets (although avoid weekends unless you want to encounter all the tourists!). It is a great way to soak up the festive atmosphere and do a spot of Christmas shopping. Oh, and the mulled wine and food huts are amazing.
For the past two years that I have been at York, my college (Constantine) have organised a trip to Leeds Christmas markets which was great fun (and cheaper than getting the train there yourself!).
Your college will most likely have a ‘fake Christmas day’ and have Christmas events throughout the holidays if you stay in York beyond the end of term. Facilities like the Library remain open throughout the holidays too, which can be very helpful if you have essays or assignments due in the New Year.
But remember, if the stress does get too much, or you just need a bit of advice, there is always someone you can talk to! You have your personal supervisor, lecturers, seminar leaders and module conveners. They are all there for you and will welcome your questions and interest (although perhaps not on Christmas day – we should let them have a bit of a holiday too!)
Remember to relax and have some “you” time, it is a holiday after all!
If you wanted a little taster of what York is like at Christmas time take a look at this.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year.