Admittedly during the study term, many of us would have sacrificed sleep in trying to complete the readings, prepare for tutorial classes and assignments. The December vacation is an opportunity for all students to recuperate from our excessive studying during the past four months. Without proper planning however, these 6 weeks of vacation time can disappear in the blink of an eye.
It is good practice to sit down and draw up a brief to-do list for the vacation. This enables effective utilization of the precious 6 week break, and ensures that one is fresh and ready to face the challenges of yet another semester by January 2016. There are many things that can be done during the vacation, and if you are out of ideas, the list below may give you inspiration.
1. Internships and relevant “work” experience
Many law students will spend at least a few of those precious 6 weeks of vacation doing internships. These are so rampant that they are becoming the norm. For the first year law students who have the foresight to secure an internship for this December vacation, good for you! For those who have not done so, fret not because you have many more vacations ahead of you, and you could do it the next time around.
Obtaining an internship requires foresight, as mentioned earlier. It is necessary to apply early and if you are aiming for a December internship, try to apply at around June or earlier. Scour the webpages of law firms for internship opportunities, but do not limit yourself to private practices. The Singapore Legal Service also has a wide range of internship opportunities with various Ministries and the well sought after Attorney General’s Chambers.
If you have missed the December cycle, simply prepare your CV, and get ready to meet the next wave. The 3 month vacation from May to mid August still awaits you and you could begin applying for internships during that period from as early as January.
What to expect out of the internships? Depending on your mentor and their own workload, you could either be very busy or you may be simply sitting at your desk hoping that someone allocates you work. At the very least it is a great opportunity to suit up and familiarize yourself with the working environment. Lunch times are also great for networking with other interns (possibly from other faculties if they work in the same department), speaking with mentors or their colleagues, and learning about their experiences in the working environment.
2. Spending time with family and friends
Admit it, how many times have you turned down a social invitation or gathering because you have an assignment due? This vacation gives you the opportunity to regain your social life and spend valuable time with family and friends. These may be the people that supported you throughout the gruelling 4 months of study, who watched you lapse into panic as the deadline neared and calmed you down so that you could get back on your feet and complete that take home assignment or research paper.
While you might not have time back then to enjoy their company, you could do so now during our break.
Clearly if you have travel in mind, you might have already planned it long beforehand. If you have not already done so, quick weekend getaways that do not need extensive preparation are also an option.
4. Activities at home
If going out is not your thing, you may wish to simply stay home and enjoy your temporary respite from school. Catching up on sleep and rebalancing your lifestyle is one important thing you could do. You could also pick up a new activity:
- Learn a new sport or exercise more (get fit before the new term starts)
- Learn to play a new musical instrument (music is a universal language)
- Learn to make new culinary creations (who does not like delicious food?)
…or you could just pack up your room, categorize or clear out old junk, and send your current semester law notes into your archival files. Not only will your workspace and storage become tidier, but you also become more acquainted with the things you have in your room or where you store them.
Reconnecting with your own past achievements and ambitions also remind you of the hard work you have put in to get to where you are today, and allows you to appreciate how far you have actually come since those good ol’ days. This can act as a great motivation when the going gets tough every semester.
5. Prepare for the next semester
Alternatively, you might acquaint yourself with the materials that you will need to use for the following semester. Find out from your peers about the teaching styles of professors teaching the modules that you will be taking. To some extent this allows you to hit the ground running when the semester starts, instead of blundering around trying to adapt to their teaching style. You could also start searching around for second hand textbooks and keep track of prices so that you know where to find them when term starts (Overheard and Carousel are good places to start).
The above list is merely for inspirational purposes only, and is meant to be non exhaustive. It is also not meant to suggest any preferred method for allocating your vacation time. Reader discretion is advised. Plan well and enjoy a productive holiday!
Written by: Alicia Lim (Year 4)
Photography by: the Internet (cited)