Nearing the end of the year can be daunting but is also, hopefully, the lead up to a re-energising break. Pippa reminisces about the holiday season including her recent years as a post-graduate.
When I was little, Christmas was such an exciting time filled with wonder. I remember the last few days of winter term at primary school being all about making decorations, rehearsing for the schools Christmas nativity and singing Christmas carols. By Christmas Eve, there was an incredible level of excitement as I put out a mince pie for Santa and carrots for his reindeers. And by Christmas morning, just crumbs would remain.
While at secondary school, what I remember most about the lead up to Christmas was repeatedly watching the first three quarters of the same Christmas films. I still don’t think I have seen any of the home alone films to the end. The freedom of knowing that school was out for the next three weeks was great and I couldn’t wait for all my family’s classic Christmas games to begin, including spam carving. Yes, spam carving.
During my undergrad, the real countdown for me was to the end of the January exams. This meant that the lead up to Christmas involved creating colour coordinated excel sheets, splitting my hours over the holidays for revision. I am one of those people that enjoys a good spreadsheet. However, also factored into the schedule was guilt-free family and friends time, to prevent me from slowly going crazy in my fort of highlighters and markers.
And now, the era of post-graduate Christmas. Leading up through December the corridors are quiet with very few students to be seen, which means closer parking spaces and reduced queues for the department microwave. Win! This is also a great time for sociable evenings from the Christmas party to watching Christmas classics with hot chocolate and popcorn.
However, during this count-down to the holidays, I hear suggestions of people staying behind to get a few more experiments done or to finish off writing. And although I could do with more results and writing under my belt, I believe this festive holiday time is better spent rejuvenating my enthusiasm that has begun to dwindle during the dreary winter months.
My plan this year includes the usual of seeing friends and family alongside a couple of days relaxing with my feet up, or better yet staying in my pyjamas, and finally watching the end of home alone. Hopefully, this holiday will be just what I need to come back bright eyed and bushy tailed for 2019.
What is your favourite way of relaxing over the holidays? We would love to hear about your fond memories of school Christmas activities. Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
If you are staying on campus over the holidays, check out how to spend your free time in the Coventry area on our sister blog – the Study Blog.
Pippa Richardson is in the third year of her PhD in neuroscience here at the University of Warwick looking in detail at proteins involved in learning and memory. You can find her on twitter @pipparichardso2.