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A dilemma called holiday

Summer is the best time for a holiday, but what happens if you just enjoy your time off and it catches up with you in the autumn in the form of your account balance. A classic dilemma that students face every spring. In my time, I ended up choosing combination solutions and perhaps eating a little bit more Myllyn paras wheat macaroni.

That spring panic

Every spring, at the end of January at the latest, I was always hit by a job seeking panic and determination: this year I would be proactive early on and get myself a summer job in my own field. The end result: a job as a cleaner, salesperson or warehouse worker until I got a summer job as a researcher at a laboratory during my Master’s degree studies. Looking for a summer job was brutal: there are more takers than jobs available, and at the time I was bad at writing applications. A few summers, I was saved by employee leasing. But even knowing about this option didn’t lessen my preliminary panic.

Last minute vacancies

You would think that all the jobs in Turku would be filled, with over 40,000 higher education students, plus everybody else, as takers. However, you shouldn’t throw in that famous towel or sponge just yet. It is still possible to find short work assignments for the summer or early autumn, for example. Employee leasing companies, such as Barona, VMP and Legioona, often also hire people for short work assignments in the summer. Of course, the amount of income may be difficult to predict, as the number of shifts available may vary. In the summer, Turku is also full of events, and many events don’t recruit additional labour until a few weeks before the event takes place. So you should keep an eye out for notices and e.g. end up selling liquorice at Ruisrock, if you want.

A holidaymaker’s conscience

Income earned in the summer usually means being able to travel in the winter, eat more or attend student events in peace. It is also important to rest after a long academic year. As a student, I usually took a week or two off either right before work started or right after it ended. A few weeks off could, of course, leave a dent in my wallet, but a momentary complete break from everything was the best.

Taking time off was challenging when I was writing my Master’s thesis. Treacherously, my thoughts wanted to wander to my thesis. Thesis stress became familiar and I almost felt guilty for taking time off: why should I take time off when I could write or work? In the end, I was at work, my thesis was waiting and I was stressing over my thesis. Having now graduated and hopefully become a bit wiser, I’m sharing the following advice, even at the risk of giving advice: keep time off as time off. It doesn’t have to be long: a week is enough time to relax and you can then return to your schoolwork considerably more efficiently.

A short break from everything gave me a good boost for the autumn, and my courses felt lighter at first, until the winter darkness and everyday life in the city hit me. All the more reason to take time off now, when the days are long, or when you can go out when it is light outside. Holidays allow you to schedule your days however you want. You will have time to sit inside and keep your nose stuck in books in November, when the winter darkness weighs you down.

For those willing to take time off

Turku is a fine city in the summer, with a varied collection of events and nature being wonderfully close. The city features routes for pedestrians and cyclists that start from Ruissalo, Hirvensalo and Katariinanlaakso. You can take a trip to Lake Littoistenjärvi, the Nautelankoski rapids and Kuhankuono by bike, city bike or Föli bus. Travelling to the archipelago is easy by bus as well as ships departing from the riverbank.

Marketplace events such as the Medieval Market are quality time for people who enjoy them. The Medieval Market is my own favourite, and I like going there with friends even if I don’t buy anything. On the same trip, I can visit the library on the other side of the river. The library also has air conditioning, which made it one of my favourite places to be last summer, along with beaches.

Fortunately, summer in Turku also features a great deal of music. Along with festivals, many smaller events offer music both on the streets and in pubs. You can spend your summer evenings in good company aboard riverboats that feature small bands and DJs. My own classic tradition is going to local shops with my friends and then heading for a mini picnic on the riverbank with our own drinks. You should choose your location well, because then you can also enjoy listening to the artists performing at cafés or riverboats.

Those who are willing to take time off can look forward to charging their batteries a little, and it is also good to take a full break in the middle of seeking a (summer) job or writing a thesis. Sounds wild, but it is worth it. Time off means a moment to do whatever you want, with the budget you want. Fortunately, we live in a city that offers stimuli suited for many budgets, ranging from free yoga sessions in parks to music festivals. Turku is a good place for students and employees to be.

The writer Siina Alaranta is a communications officer for Study in Turku, a University of Turku alumna and a former member of TYS.

What was that again? Study in Turku works for the well-being and happiness of students by collaborating with the city and the higher education institutions and companies in the region. Among other things, Study in Turku organises the Study in Turku fair every autumn. The facebook event is now rocking and alive: Study in Turku 2019

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