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How to Have a Productive (but Enjoyable) Spring Break

Even if you're planning on just relaxing this April vacation, you can still find time to get things done. Here are some tips to have a fun and productive break!

Even if you’re planning on just relaxing this April vacation, you can still find time to get things done. Here are some tips to have a fun and productive break!

Congratulations! You’ve endured the grueling, arduous trek through the majority of the school year, and you’ve finally arrived at the glorious spring break you’ve been dreaming about since winter break ended. The flowers are blooming, the weather is lovely, the school year is almost over, and high school students are flocking to the beach (even though it’s still not that warm) because, what the heck—it’s spring break! But now is the perfect time to remind you of all your responsibilities…

Although it’s definitely a challenge to bring yourself to think about schoolwork or finals during April vacation, it ultimately marks the last stretch before summer. You should certainly treat yourself to a break after all the hard work you’ve been doing at school (go you!). But your exciting vacation plans don’t have to be spoiled by all that homework due when you get back. With a little extra planning and time management skills on your part, you can do all the fun activities you love during spring break and return to school ready to finish the year off strong.

Start your assignments early

In the wise words of old Hamfast Gamgee in The Fellowship of the Ring, “It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.” We all know the routine: vacation starts, we’re grateful for the respite from school, we put off our assignments for the first day…then the first week…then all of a sudden, we find ourselves scrambling to finish everything the day before school starts back up. The best way to combat this last-minute panic is to start your assignments as soon as possible. It may be tempting to put them off when school still feels far away, but if you know you have a history essay to write, start it before you go on any trips. The mere action of just starting your work can lift a huge weight off your shoulders. And once you start, it becomes that much easier to finish. Plus, if you know you’re going to be traveling or looking forward to a nice staycation, it’ll be much more enjoyable without all your work hanging over your head.

Be savvy with the unexpected free time you get! While enjoying a fun (but crowded) day at an amusement park with my family, I spent the long hours in line watching the APUSH review videos my teacher assigned on my phone. If you have a long flight ahead of you, study your Spanish vocabulary for the quiz you have when you get back.

Related: Top 10 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

Plan for finals or AP tests

Finals and AP exams have the supernatural ability to sneak up on us. One moment it seems like they’re months away, and the next it’s May and exams are the following week! Spring break is a great time to evaluate which subjects you need the most time to study for. If there are any you’re really struggling with, now’s the time to invest in and utilize an AP review book. Drafting a study calendar so you can prepare for your exams in a timely manner also makes a huge difference. All your tests will seem much less daunting if you plan to study a little bit each day. For instance, if you’re studying for US History, you can write on your calendar to study the Civil War one week and the Great Depression the next. If you buy an AP review book, you can split the reading into manageable sections each day and put those on your calendar as well.

Related: 9 Study Tips to Help You Conquer AP Tests

Spring clean

Maybe it’s the faint aroma of all the leftover lunches you never finished. Maybe it’s a mess of laundry on your floor, and you can’t tell what’s clean and what isn’t. Maybe it’s the dust bunnies accumulating on your bookshelves or the piles of old homework under your bed. Whatever it is, it’s spring cleaning time! Your week off is the perfect time to bust out the vacuum, turn up your tunes, and sanitize your bathroom. Woohoo!


Speaking of cleaning, what’s a better way to clear out your clutter than through donations? It might be hard to part with that sparkly dress you wore to homecoming or the collection of Junie B. Jones books you haven’t touched since first grade, but donating items you no longer use or need is a great way to start spring. The pantry is highly overlooked during spring cleaning. You might find some canned goods that have been sitting unopened and forgotten but are still far from expiration. Make some room and bring those cans to the food bank!

Related: 5 Ways to Give Back During Spring Break

Get a hobby

If you began the endeavor to teach yourself a new instrument but haven’t found the time to practice, now’s a great time to pick it back up. Or if you started reading a new book series a few weeks ago but haven’t had the chance to finish, go to the park and read! Spring break is a great time to sleep and stay in, but it’s an even better time to head outside in the sunshine. Hiking, camping, and bike riding are great hobbies for your break. Or you can get crafty by painting or coloring or even making your own tie-dye T-shirts.

Related: How to Turn Hobbies Into Scholarships

Give yourself a break

You’re an awesome student and you’ve been working hard. It’s important to stay on top of your goals and not forget about your responsibilities, but it’s also important not to lose yourself in incessant worries about school. Forcing yourself to work 24/7 will cause you to burn out. You’ve put in the effort and your work is almost done. So catch up on your sleep, watch that last season of Parks and Recreation, spend time with your loved ones, and celebrate all your hard work! As the hackneyed saying goes: work hard, play hard.

Related: Dear High School Overachievers: Take a Break Before You Snap

Have a wonderful spring break filled with lots of productivity, adventure, rest, and fun!

Make some money in your downtime this spring break. Search for scholarships on CollegeXpress! 

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ap tests April April vacation high school high school break high school students productive productivity spring break spring cleaning studying

About Marisa Benedito

Marisa Benedito is excited to try something new and write for CollegeXpress! She is a proud book nerd and avid recycler who truly loves poetry, Broadway musicals, and chocolate chip cookies.


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