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Why New College Students Should Stick to a Routine During Vacations

SPRING BREAK! It's time to go nuts! Tropical locations, thinner clothes and activities that you shan't tell your parents about ever - these are the hallmarks of a good vacation, right? But if you're a newer college student, especially one struggling with a new routine and work responsibilities, you may want to hold off on these parent-angering activities for the time being.

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Making Adjustments

There's definitely nothing wrong with taking a vacation. You can't be expected to work, study and go to class all the time, and occasionally, a change of scenery is exactly what you need. Of course, as in all things, moderation is essential. And if you're a new college student still adjusting to the rhythm of college life, maybe cutting loose isn't the best idea at this juncture.

Any major life change requires a period of acclimation. College is likely the first time you've lived on your own (or at least without family) your whole life; maybe you thought you could sleep in, work when you feel like it and party all the time. Unless you had an especially easy course list your first semester, you probably found out that wasn't true. For many students, college requires more focused scheduling than high school, simply because you and you alone control your fate.

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Some Hypotheticals

Given that scenario, let's say it took you a little while (maybe 'til after your first semester grades came in) to figure out your limits and understand the importance of smart scheduling. Perhaps it means waking up an hour or two earlier to get some pre-class work in, or dedicating that same amount of time to quiet studying after dinner. Maybe you set aside an hour or so every afternoon for reading assigned novels or participating in online discussions on class websites.

If that's something you just started doing your second semester, you've only spent two months in a new routine when spring break rolls around. Do you think that's enough time for a schedule to really stick? Experts will tell you that consistency is the key to any kind of major life change, be it dieting, exercise or better study habits. Is it worth throwing that all out the window for one week of Bacchanalian delight?

Real Talk

Maybe you're disciplined enough to snap right back to your new study schedule as soon as you return to school, and maybe two months of serious discipline built up a real need to take a break. But it's also possible that once you start to slack off, you'll find it harder to return to those study skills you worked hard to build up.

Consider this: Once you've mastered your new routine, you can take vacations guilt-free... at least as far as your studies go. If you can make it through a whole semester without breaking your routine, that gives you more than enough time to get amped up for spring break next year, when you'll be a pro at this college thing.

If you continue to struggle, though, you'll always have doubts about whether or not you should really be taking time off instead of concentrating on your studies, and that may cast a cloud over any vacation. So take the hit now. Use spring break to bone up on lecture notes and do some extra reading. It sounds awful, but your future self will thank you. Also, your future self wants you to put a little more money away for that plane ticket to Cancun, dude.

When summer break's on the horizon, here are some things you'll want to do.

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