For those of you doing a major work, these summer holidays are your new best friend! They will help you kickstart, develop and create your major work ideas so well that when HSC Term 2 comes around, you won’t lose a wink of sleep worrying.

While they are called holidays for a reason, and you SHOULD take a break, none of us at HSC CoWorks wants to see you come in at the start of the term a ball of stress, because you didn’t use your time as effectively as you should have (this obviously applies for all of your subjects, not just those that include a Major Work.) However, for those of you doing those subjects, summer really is the perfect time for you to get your creative juices flowing! So, from someone who did 3 major works in her HSC year, here are some tips for those of you who are major-working these holidays!

Tip #1 Mind-map like mad

This also applies to those who have decided on their ideas. Start with things you are passionate about or interested in, and from there, consolidate, get more specific, and branch out with ideas, more refined concepts, or practicalities that could help you with your major work. Don’t stop once you’ve reached something you like – circle it, and keep going! You can develop more and more ideas that result in multiple possibilities.

Once your mind-map is so vast that it could loop a football field, go back and look through your beautiful creation. Address what you’ve previously circled, and circle some more ideas too. Don’t limit yourself. Make new mind-maps of possibilities that you could create off of those ideas too!

Tip #2 – Consolidate

After you have exhausted your masterpiece of a mind-map, consolidate on those ideas that you believe really have potential (both conceptual and practical). Have a look at the ideas you have formed for addressing these, and again, narrow it down to those that have the most potential.

Once you’re satisfied with a consolidated amount of ideas, (3 -5 is good), write a mock proposal for each one. Explain in 200 words or so what the concept is, and either write (for those Ext 2 English and Ext History students) or create (art, drama, DT, etc…) samples of your works. This will help you narrow down those ideas that will really take off.

Tip #3 – Don’t forget to research

While it can be fun to get caught up in the practical side, it’s very common for students to return in Term One and realise they are far behind on the research aspect of their ideas – which, in some subjects, means you may have to discontinue (and lose your precious Major Work baby!). Don’t let that happen – don’t be that student! Research is invaluable to your Major Work – you need to be able to support your concept. You should generally spend an equal amount of time researching than you do creating and brainstorming.

Tip #4 – Talk about it

Whether it is to an older friend who did the same subjects, friends at school, parents, coaches (definitely a good option) or teachers, talking about your idea, and relating it to others will definitely help you not only gain new ideas for your work, but understand whether or not the idea has legs. If your art teacher doesn’t get it, it’s possible you have to have another look. In contrast, your teacher/friend/parent could say – great idea! Have you thought about (x) or (y)? And you have a revelation!

Tip #5 – Plan like there’s no tomorrow

Planning is invaluable, and something that we really try to encourage here at HSC CoWorks. Have a look at this sort of structure:

  1. What do you want to have achieved by the end of the summer holidays? Try writing a list!
  2. What do you need to do in order to achieve these goals?
  3. When do you want to have achieved each item of the list by?

Create a vision, and plan the steps of action you need to take to achieve it. Include dates: on your calendar, on Basecamp, on any to-do list app you can find, in your room. Set reminders and try and achieve each of these goals in the allotted time frame. It’s great to make a plan, but if you don’t keep yourself accountable, you will probably get about 1/10th of what you actually wanted to achieve done.

Not only will planning set you up to be at a major advantage by the start of term, but gives you a framework of how to attack the major work (and the rest of your subjects) throughout the year.

Tip #6 – Keep the stress to a minimum

Major works are fun! They’re an extension of you, a representation of your interests, passions and thoughts! If you set unrealistic goals (like finishing your entire major work by the end of the holidays), you will work yourself sick, and end up exhausted by your idea. Set realistic and achievable goals, and give yourself a break. These are holidays – it’s ok to not be working 24/7.

Lastly, remember that here at HSC CoWorks your coaches and teachers are here to help you! Don’t hesitate to ask for help, present your ideas or show us your work. Our job is to help you achieve your HSC vision, and I look forward to seeing and hearing all about your fantastic ideas.

Katy F

For more holiday tips & to-dos, see our post on Summer Holiday Recommended To Do List