One of the things that really irritates the students in my school is when the teachers keep going on about the fact that there is no such thing as ‘free time’, there is only ‘study time’. I think it seems like sometimes, the school just wants them to sleep or work … and nothing else. It just seems like there is not time ‘to play’. Well of course, there is now!

This blog is really aimed at those students who are half way through their Diploma course.  The first year will have seemed to many, like a whirlwind of work and somehow, you need to have a good understanding of it all, before it kicks off again in September.  Yet there must be time to relax.  For those students I have four pieces of advice for your summer break:

1. You need to work

You will find that the revision process for the Diploma is essential if you are to ultimately do well. You and your teacher will need to make sure that you make good progress through the course so that there is ample time to revise everything you need to go through. And part of this process is to make sure that you have a good grasp of the material you have studied during this first year.

There are many ways to do this but essentially, you do it yourself, or you get help:

Do it yourself

If you are going to prepare yourself on your own, then you need to make sure you have all your notes from school and you need to plan time to look through it and refresh your memory of the work. Don’t spend more than 3 hours in a day doing this, and no more than 1 or 2days a week. Consider getting up in the morning and working from 10.30am until 1.30pm. Then stop – that is more than enough.  Check for anything you do not understand, make a note of it then read about it in the text book or on the web (including YouTube). If you still do not understand, ask your teachers when you get back for the second year – they will love you for it!

Get help

One of the easiest ways to prepare yourself for year 2, is to take an OSC course. They cover most of the material you would be expected to know from year 1. As long as you work hard for a week of mornings, you should be fine.  If not, you could consider a private tutor. The only danger there, is that you do not know what they are like whereas the OSC tutors are universally good.

I know it seems a little weird to be talking about working through the break, but I promise that you will not regret it. Considering the fact that you actually chose to do the IB and you chose the particular subjects, you should actually like them and so, working through them should be (kind of) fun!!

2. You need to rest

It is really important that you take the time to relax. Get sleep and be lazy. Ensure that you do not stay up all night – there is no need for this.

You could just spend the time doing … nothing!  Watch the TV or movies.  Find time to be with friends and just do … nothing.  Adults have a real problem doing this because life is busy and there is so much to do. But at your age, this is fine.

If I was a teenager again (that would be about a million years ago!), I would watch all the Marvel and DC movies, get hooked to Netflix, read books and watch the TV … and of course play computer games (although playing Doom is not exactly … rest).

3. You need to play

This is also important. You must find time to be active in some way. Get your blood moving just a little faster. Grab a friend, find a sport and play them. Or if you have no friends (!), get to a gym and exercise. This is really important if you are to have a healthy mind and body. If this is not your thing, then get yourself an mp3 player, fill it with podcasts for all the subjects you love (if you want help finding some great ones, contact me), and go for a walk, listening to them.

4. Work experience

Consider getting some work experience. Apart from the fat that this is a good way of making some money, it might also be important for you, when you apply to university soon. Think about careers you might be interested in and find local companies that are associated with this and call them to ask if they will let you work for them for a week or two. If you are considering something like medicine, this is actually essential.  If you do not know what to say when you call them, ask your parents to help – get them to write down what you should say on a piece of paper, so that you sound confident. Look on YouTube – there are some excellent videos from people, telling you how to come over as confident in a phone call.

Last comment.  Whatever you do, even if you decide that you hate the above advice and definitely will not be following it, the most important thing to do is enjoy life. Try not to waste too much time doing nothing – fill your life with experiences. And remember that the most important thing in life, is to try to make a positive contribution to someone else’s life.