How to make the most of post-exam holidays

The post-exam phase is pivotal, especially within India’s competitive educational landscape.
How to make the most of post-exam holidays

As the examination season draws to a close, students and parents in India are grappling with how best to use the post-exam period. Is it to be a time solely dedicated to relaxation, or should students consider engaging in productive activities to further their growth?

In the Indian context, three predominant responses emerge following the completion of 12th-grade exams. One group eagerly embraces the opportunity to unwind after years of arduous schooling. On the other end of the spectrum are those driven by self-motivation, having already set sights on future endeavours, with a desire to excel, eager to enter the next phase of their academic journey. There’s also a group that is a bit unsure on how best to proceed without guidance. This group often relies on parental input and external advice to chart their course. In all this, finding an equilibrium between post-exam leisure and planning for the future is vital.

The post-exam phase is pivotal, especially within India’s competitive educational landscape. Recent reports from Bengaluru highlight parental concerns regarding 5th-grade children being mandated to attend classes during vacation, underscoring the prevailing academic pressure. While parents may reassure their children of smoother times post-exams, students quickly realise life presents a continuum of challenges.

Thus, although indulging in a lengthy break may seem enticing, it is imperative to allocate time for planning and being future-ready. Therefore, when students have ample time before starting college, it’s crucial to consider how they can stay engaged effectively. A short break can benefit their well-being, allowing them to recharge and explore non-academic activities. Being with loved ones and pursuing hobbies can alleviate stress. In today’s competitive environment, learning relaxation techniques is essential for managing anxiety.

Transitioning from secondary to higher education marks a significant shift, demanding a clear grasp of the distinction between the two. Regrettably, this is frequently neglected, resulting in numerous college students retaining behaviours better suited to a school environment. Dependency on teachers and wanting to be spoon-fed persist even at the tertiary level, impeding students’ capacity to wholly adopt the autonomy and self-directed learning intrinsic to higher education.

At this point, a cursory examination of the evolution of education’s purpose may shed light on changing perspectives. In the past, higher education was primarily aimed at knowledge acquisition. Today, the emphasis leans heavily on developing skills. Employers look for individuals with knowledge, skills, and the right attitude. While knowledge remains crucial, its overemphasis can neglect practical skills.

Conversely, an excessive focus on skills and job prospects may narrow students’ educational scope, hindering critical thinking and adaptability. Ideally, education should be holistic, serving three interconnected purposes: humanistic, civic and economic. Balancing these ensures a well-rounded experience, fostering adaptable individuals prepared for diverse opportunities.

Students must be prepared to confront the challenges of constant change, remaining adaptable and innovative. Today, global citizenship holds significance as students must cultivate responsibility toward local and global communities while also fostering an appreciation for sustainable development and environmental stewardship. Cultivating a lifelong learning culture characterised by self-directed exploration, curiosity and a growth mindset is vital. Essentially, the overarching goal is for students to excel personally and contribute positively to society, leading fulfilling lives that are flexible, inclusive and responsive to evolving community needs.

The post-exam period, thus, offers students a valuable opportunity for reflection and future planning that can significantly benefit their growth. From an educational standpoint, students can use this period to enhance their academic skills, such as writing, research, critical thinking, and practical abilities such as language proficiency and digital literacy. Numerous online platforms, including the free Massive Open Online courses or MOOCs, offered by reputed universities, provide resources for skill development. Immersing themselves in subjects they are passionate about and actively participating in related activities can provide students with clarity regarding their academic and career aspirations. This will enable them to make informed decisions about their tertiary studies.

On the psychological front, prioritising self-care and well-being is paramount during this period. Engaging in activities that nurture mental and emotional health, generally undermined in our society, is extremely crucial. Regular exercise, mindfulness practices, creative outlets and quality time spent with loved ones can greatly support overall well-being. Self-reflection and introspection regarding their strengths and aspirations can help students set achievable goals for their college journey.

One glaring deficiency in the Indian educational system is its failure to cultivate students’ interest in societal engagement. Community involvement is often overlooked, resulting in minimal emphasis on service. Students must be involved in societal service during this period, even in small ways. Volunteering, community service projects, and internships with NGOs can instil social responsibility and empathy in students while allowing them to make meaningful contributions to society. Finally, fostering cultural exploration could be productive, facilitating a smoother transition into college campus life.

(Views are personal)


John J Kennedy | Professor and Dean, CHRIST (Deemed) University, Bengaluru

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express