I’m Tired, I’m Fed Up: What To Do for a Meaningful Break?
Before holiday: “Capek gua, kapan liburan?”
During holiday: “Ini libur kok lama amat? Udah bosen banget.”
After holiday: “Liburan ngapain aja? Kok udah selesai?”
As students, it’s normal to be fed up with studying at times, especially during revision and exam periods. After rushing for the coveted seats at the library and revising from our text-filled lecture notes, tutorial questions, and past papers for many days, there’s nothing more like a dark humour than the thought of holiday during the saddening fact that there are still a lot of exams to go.
Does holiday mean turning yourself into a couch potato accompanied with potato chips? I find it interesting that quite a lot of people do the so-called movie marathon (especially with help of Netflix, though I’m not sure if it’s still blocked by Telkom by now after the concern on its lack of business permit in Indonesia), though I’m actually not into it. How about declaring yourself as a foodie and start traveling around in search for the café with least overpriced English breakfast? Little do people know that I love fried oyster despite being quite oily and calorie-laden (thanks to the starch), so I find it somehow acceptable to wander around for the better dishes in your area.
Doing those things for weekends can be great ways to refresh ourselves, but let’s throw in the extreme cases: how about spending a 1-week, or even 12-weeks holiday? Continuously playing a loop of music at Spotify to the point you got sick of your previously favourite songs? Having your manual weighing scale looping back to 0 again due to you gorging on those burgers and truffle oil fries, further paired with coffee with full cream milk, whipped cream, and copious shots of corn syrup? I don’t think that’s ever going to help when we get back to school/college again, so there must be better ways to spend the break time.
Bonus: My music compendium is available on Spotify, with a hint of European style. Give it a try here.
Also not helping us will be the much shorter leaves available after we enter the workforce, so there are few more chances (if ever any) to have long holidays. Here are my few steps on finding the best things to do for your break:
- Find what you want to get.
We all have different wants, so to want different things will be normal. As examples, Surya feels that he want to fill his almost empty resume with volunteer experience since he doesn’t feel he have enough skills to do internship, while Angelina prefers to bond with fellow Indonesians in her batch since she didn’t join the Indonesian student associations available and missed out a bit.
The main point here is to realize that a break isn’t to be used simply for yet another lame thing, but instead for some meaningful activities. From doing some community service, tinkering around your personal project, all the way to having your first mountain climbing experience, make sure it’s something memorable, and possibly something great to discuss for your upcoming date.
- Find your interests (and constraints).
This should come naturally with the first one, but it’s worth reiterating. There have been quite a lot of cases on the so-called herd mentality, which therefore may leave you unsatisfied when you simply want something simply because the rest has done it. Let me elaborate one of my cases on food and spots for traveling:
When I travel, I love exploring tastes and spots more focused towards locals, so on my trip to Hong Kong I had myself and my parents enjoying dim sum at one of the better spots in Hong Kong as well as explored one of the outlying islands mostly filled with local tourists, which was quite nice. Had I travel on a group tour setting, chances are I would find myself eating the pre-defined, boring foods (Chinese food in Europe?) and spending day jostling at the overpriced souvenir shops.
Following the majority can be a great way to stay tuned to what people think or do at this moment (think of pop music or blockbuster movie), though I can say that being popular, in the end, doesn’t seem as glorified as it was perceived and can be tough. A break is about recharging and finding yourself, so feel free to follow your interests (assuming constraints not put into consideration). Constraints, such as fears, can be put into equation as well, though how will it affect you is something I can’t determine.
- Search for suitable options
Now that you’ve got what you want by yourself, looking for options should be a piece of cake. Think of it as compiling all your thoughts into actual plan, which is actually half fun and half menial work due to the possibly sheer research required. Take this scenario as a good example:
I have quite some things I want to pour out into writings written to fill my short breaks. Upon searching for opportunities available, I have several choices: personal blog, citizen journalism sites (ex.: Kompasiana), and topic-specific sites (ex.: Indonesia Mengglobal). As I am studying overseas, my thoughts tend to relate well with my overseas study experiences, so I find that my thoughts can be better read and utilized at this site (feeling the same thing as me? Find out how to contribute here).
There are several issues you can think of when finding suitable options, such as the difficulty of the admin matters, cost, and even your friends’ objections (very important if you’re doing things together, even though break is about yourself). Some of the issues you can think of are already in your constraints list (if you have any), but the rest is about maximizing benefits from your choice, as well as minimizing quarrels.
- Preparing for the break: save yourself from the hiccups
It’s often said that preparing early ahead pays, and it’s also the case for having breaks. Thinking of traveling to US next week without visa in hand? How about moving out from your dorm/hall for your holiday with half of your belongings still in the bedroom waiting for removal? Applying for US visa only 1 week before travel and have it issued is a remarkable feat in its own, while even though moving out “only” calls for returning keys and leaving the room just like during check-in, the short time made the process of choosing on whether to dispose or carry the belongings need to be done at breakneck pace.
This is a sometimes overlooked aspect of having a break, which I know is extremely normal as we start thinking of the possible enjoyment lying ahead, but sometimes it can be also the thing that makes or breaks the break. Something as simple as forget to prepare a cushy seat for having the writing marathon at IM or to have your Kumamon plush toy brought to make your sister happy for the family trip can either make writing painful or your sister so restless you can’t enjoy that once in a lifetime spa treatment, so it’s important to have everything set before departure.
- Do it: what’s the point of planning without execution?
Except you’re solely providing consultancy service, you better walk the talk and do what you propose. The point of planning a break is for you to do the break, so stay safe and enjoy!
One more tips: regardless of whether your break turns out to be enjoyable, there’s already the so-called sunk cost, which means that no matter how hard you try, it won’t go back again (time machine, anyone?)
All in all, it’s always great to understand that YOLO also means YODO, so have a break, soak into the experience, and (for the sweet toothed) have a …. Planning is indeed necessary, yet it’s a way to prepare a break, so plan wisely, and let the rest flow. What kinds of break are you going to have for the upcoming holiday? Feel free to share on the comments.
See you on the next column!
Featured photo of participants of the volunteering activity in Cambodia (me included) courtesy of Natasha Angela Lee. All photos are taken by me and are free to use by attributing the author except otherwise stated.
Hailing from Madiun, Eric is currently a third year computer science student at Nanyang Technological University on an internship at a leading semiconductor company. His interests on community service brings him to be an English teacher on winter 2014 in Cambodia as well as a certified first aider in Singapore. When he doesn't work on his coursework or community service, he works on his personal project on applying machine learning, travels around Singapore as well as overseas, listens to classical choral musics, and reads on personal development as well as on airports and airlines. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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