Textbooks or turkey?


BYU gives students a three-day break for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a good time for students to get ahead in school with finals approaching quickly, but stealing a moment away from the food, fun and family can be a challenge. Though many students bring loads of homework  with them to complete, often they do not finish what they planned to start. Being productive and enjoying the holiday can become a balancing act.

Zoe Clement, a senior in advertising from Austin, Texas, experienced the difficulty in balancing all she had to do last Thanksgiving. She celebrated the holiday with a family friend in Colorado and was a nanny for their children. On top of celebrating the holiday and watching the kids, Clement had to find time to finish a research paper for her sociology class and finish the remainder of her online biology course.

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It's the season for food, family, fun - and school.
“It was hard because all I wanted to do was spend time with the kids I was nannying,” Clement said. “The pressure was pounding in my head all day long about things I had to accomplish for school.”

Dane Raleigh and Jeremy Egan are students who teach a course in the College and Career Center. The workshop focuses specifically on this issue of time management and productivity.

“Most students have good intentions, but they don’t take the time to specifically plan out the times they are going to do homework,” Raleigh said. “Plan out times to sit down for a few minutes or hours at a time over the weekend to accomplish things. Doing so will allow students to get more done and enjoy their break.”

Setting goals ahead of time is another way stay on task.

“Make a realistic goal and do a little bit at a time,” Egan said. “It can be overwhelming with so much to do, but making small goals can be helpful.”

Egan suggested doing things a little at a time. Focus on getting two pages of the research paper done, not the whole thing. Do part of the assignment versus trying to finish the entire thing.

These tips can make for a fun, yet productive, holiday weekend. Balancing time off and continuing to study can be difficult but not impossible.

“I had to schedule out times during the day when I could find time to finish my homework,” Clement said. “Though it was a sacrifice of time with the people I loved at Thanksgiving, it was rewarding because when I went back to school there was less to do before finals.”


1. Schedule time to work: set aside a specific time each day to work hard so you can enjoy the rest of your day off.

2. Prioritize: make a list of the things you want to accomplish during the break and start with the most important.

3.Take breaks to reward yourself: set a timer for five or 10 minutes to break up your study session.

4. Find a place you can actually focus: don’t do your homework in the family room in the recliner.

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