Top 5 to-dos during mid-semester breaks
For the past two weeks, I have been savoring a very special time — a mid-semester break. These breaks are precious to me because since beginning the Evening MBA program back in August 2016, there have only been about 16 weeks where I’ve had no school commitments. Between ACE classes, Washington Campus and my international module, I’ve filled up most of my “breaks” with other school activities. This time, I decided to enjoy a much-needed respite.
As someone with a Type-A personality, I have a hard time appreciating the value of resting. I’m usually eager to accomplish tasks as fast as possible. But this break, I’ve tried to focus my time and energy on some rejuvenating practices to decompress and refocus for the last two semesters of the EvMBA program. So, for all you current and future Evening MBA students, here are my top five recommendations for how to spend your mid-semester break:
Read a book for fun
During the semester, I rarely have time to read all of the assigned reading from classes, so it’s nearly impossible to squeeze in any personal reading. This break, I vowed to read at least one of title from my ever-growing “To Read” list. I picked up “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek and finished it in two flights. It was refreshing to realize that my first choice of a “pleasure read” is all about inspirational, ethical leadership — concepts that are emphasized through every hallway and classroom at Goizueta.
While professors are fairly understanding when students have to miss class due to travel, it is much less of a headache to travel during semester breaks. I had the good fortune to have two work trips fall right in the middle of my mid-semester break, so I’ve spent the past two weeks in Monterey, California, and Chicago, Illinois. It has been absolutely wonderful traveling during these breaks because I’ve been able to focus on my work commitments and enjoy the local sights, rather than rushing back to my hotel room to work on homework assignments or get on a call for a group meeting. If you are a frequent traveler, I’d encourage you to try as best you can to travel during mid-semester breaks.
Prioritize your health
When I get busy during the semester, my health is one of the first priorities that slips. I skip workouts to finish assignments. I fail to plan meals and end up forming a makeshift dinner out of snacks from the program office. So, during mid-semester breaks, I try to reset healthy routines. I take advantage of nights without classes and commutes and spend more time in the gym. I rediscover nutritious, homemade meals and freeze extra portions to eat during the semester ahead. I hope that this summer I can maintain these healthy habits to give me the energy boost needed to get through the semester.
Reset your focus
When classes are in session, I inevitably pigeonhole my focus on my coursework — the individual assignments, the grades, the exams. This narrow perspective occasionally causes me to lose sight of my broader purpose for pursuing my MBA. By taking a break from course work, I’ve had time to reflect about what I want to accomplish during the rest of my program. What skills do I want to improve before I graduate? How do I want to contribute to the EvMBA program? Which professors or classmates do I want to remain a part of my long-term network? Taking time to ask these big picture questions helps me enter into a new semester with a renewed sense of purpose.
Last but not least, the most important thing I try to do during mid-semester breaks is to actually take a break. I go to bed early and sleep in late. I savor mornings at the farmer’s market and afternoons at the pool. I go to the movies and watch mindless television (the Food Network and Bravo, anyone?). While my inner monologue might critique these “unproductive” activities, I know that these moments of relaxation are well-deserved after a few years of hard work.