Work Hard, Play Hard: Ways to Win at Recess Week

Recess week is finally here! After six weeks of unending lectures and tutorials, it’s finally time for you to take a break (or at least we hope you will!). While it is tempting to just sleep the whole week away, or spend it stuck in the Education Resource Centre grinding for your midterms, Reslife is here to offer some suggestions on how you can spend this week getting the best of both worlds – working hard but also playing hard!


1. Plan Your Days

Source: AIHR

(If you’ve read our recent articles, you would know that we’ve talked about planning to no end. But planning is so important that we need to talk about it again!)

Carpe diem! Seize each day of your recess week, for it is too precious to let go to waste. To do that, you need to do the not-so-glamorous work of planning out how each day of your recess week is going to look – this will ensure that you’re setting aside enough time to finish any school work you may have, and it also gives you the chance to schedule in some fun activities you might want to do. Without a plan, you might waste precious time each day wondering what to do, or find that the friends you wanted to hang out with are no longer free ☹ So, create a to-do list and use a calendar to plan out your week!


2. Catch Up With Old Friends & Family

Source: BuzzFeed

Let’s be real, having been so busy with your residential and academic commitments over the past six weeks, the main human interaction you’ve had would be with your friends in your residence and your group project members. But now that you’re no longer tied down by lectures and tutorials, perhaps it’s time to reconnect with the friends you’ve been wanting to catch up with for a long time, or even your family members. If you have a local home, staying on campus has definitely reduced the amount of time you spend with them, and for those with family members outside of Singapore – finding time for a Zoom/Facetime call at the end of another Zoom lecture day can just be too much during the term. During recess week, set some time aside to meet with these people and invest in the relationships close to your heart.


3. Do Something Fun!

When was the last time you did something fun? Recess week is literally a week for you to take a recess – that is, a “period of time in which an organized activity such as study or work is temporarily stopped” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2021). Not to take the fun out of having fun, but we just wanted to make a point that there’s even a formal definition for recess! So, whether you feel like you deserve it or not (c’mon, you do!), put down your books for a while and take a break! Schedule in some time to do something relaxing and enjoyable this week, and if you’re not sure what you can do, here are some of our suggestions:


For the Outdoor Adventurer


1. Kayak for Free While Picking up Trash

Source: PAssion Wave


What better way to relax than to spend some time bobbing on the calm waves of the sea (or a reservoir)? The best part is that you can do this for free, while also helping Mother Nature out! For the month of September, you can rent a kayak for free from 9-11am or 2-4pm on Wednesdays to Fridays at any PAssion Wave outlet, in exchange for picking up rubbish while you kayak. Each week’s slot bookings open on the Monday of that week at 12am, so if you want to get your desired slot, do remember to book it fast.

There are a total of six PAssion Wave outlets – three sea outlets (which require a minimum one-star Kayak certification): Sembawang, Pasir Ris East Coast, and three reservoir outlets (no certification needed): Jurong Lake Gardens, Marina Bay, Bedok Reservoir.

For more information, head over to PAssion Wave’s Facebook Post.

(If there are no more slots for the week, not to worry – there are various places in Singapore where you can rent a kayak for around $10 for 2 hours. Check out this guide to kayaking rental spots in Singapore to find out more.)


2. Go for a Hike

There are many scenic routes around Singapore where you can take a leisurely hike and clear your mind. The infographic below shows some possible hiking routes you can take – to find out more, visit this article by Homage for trails ranked by difficulty.

Source: Homage


  1. For the Movie Lover

Lying in bed and watching a good movie sparks its own special kind of joy. If you’re looking to curl up in bed and spend some time watching a good show, here are some highly rated movies you can consider!


1. Minari

Source: Angelus News

Synopsis: A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Genre: Drama

Rating: 7.5/10 IMDB, 98% Rotten Tomatoes


2. 3 Idiots

Source: Cinema Express

Synopsis: In college, Farhan and Raju form a great bond with Rancho due to his positive and refreshing outlook to life. Years later, a bet gives them a chance to look for their long-lost friend whose existence seems rather elusive.

Genre: Comedy/Romance

Rating: 8.4/10 IMDB, 100% Rotten Tomatoes


3. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

Source: Movie Time Guru

Synopsis: After a painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergoes a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey) from her mind. When Joel discovers that Clementine is going to extremes to forget their relationship, he undergoes the same procedure and slowly begins to forget the woman that he loved.

Genre: Romance/ Sci-fi

Rating: 8.3/10 IMDB, 92% Rotten Tomatoes


4. Slumdog Millionaire

Source: Michael Ashworth

Synopsis: As 18-year-old Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) answers questions on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” flashbacks show how he got there. Part of a stable of young thieves after their mother dies, Jamal and his brother, Salim, survive on the streets of Mumbai. Salim finds the life of crime agreeable, but Jamal scrapes by with small jobs until landing a spot on the game show.

Genre: Romance/Drama

Rating: 8/10 IMDB, 91% Rotten Tomatoes


5. The Godfather

Source: Viator

Synopsis: Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama focuses on the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). When the don’s youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), reluctantly joins the Mafia, he becomes involved in the inevitable cycle of violence and betrayal. Although Michael tries to maintain a normal relationship with his wife, Kay (Diane Keaton), he is drawn deeper into the family business.

Genre: Crime/Drama

Rating: 9.2/10 IMDB, 97% Rotten Tomatoes


For the Historian

If you’re looking to do something a little more unique, here are two activities that will evoke some nostalgia and bring out the historian in you.


1. Visit the National Museum Exhibition, “Home, Truly: Growing Up with Singapore, 1950s to the Present”

Source: National Heritage Board

This highly rated exhibition takes you on a journey through the key moments and experiences of Singapore’s past and present, with plenty of interactive elements to keep you engaged and immersed in the stories told. If you’re interested in taking a walk down Singapore’s memory lane, this exhibition is sure to evoke warm feelings of nostalgia and patriotism, as well as prompt you to reflect on what Singapore means to you as a home.

The exhibition is open daily from 10am to 7pm (last admission at 6.30pm), until 3 October 2021. Admission is free, and it is located in the Basement Level of the Exhibition Gallery in the National Museum of Singapore. For more information on the exhibition, click here.


2. Go Cafe Hopping in Kampong Bahru

Source: The Straits Times


Have you ever heard of Kampong Bahru? Kampong Bahru Road is a stretch of 44 commercial shophouses opposite the Singapore General Hospital, and unbeknownst to many, the area is full of interesting bits of history, as well as numerous cafes and Instagrammable spots. It demonstrates an interesting balance of the preservation of history and the simultaneous embracing of modernity.

If you’re feeling adventurous, this little-known part of Singapore is perfect for a day of exploring, and at the same time, you can fill your stomach with good food by patronising the many different cafes in the area. During your visit, some unmissable places include the Blair Plain Conservation Area (a cluster of conservation shophouses built in the early 1900s),  the NUS Baba House (a heritage house which contextualises Peranakan Chinese material culture and aesthetics within a domestic setting), and the Kampong Life Murals by Yip Yew Chong at Everton Road.

If you end up visiting this interesting space and posting about it on Instagram, do tag us @nusresidentiallife – we would love to see your adventures!


4. Study (… but maybe somewhere other than NUS?)

Source: The Best Colleges

While you should find time to rest and unwind during the week, the reality is that your midterms and submissions are right around the corner too. Factoring in time to study during the week is important so that you don’t end up rushing all your work on the weekend before school restarts, undoing all the stress-relief activities you might have engaged in. If you’re looking for some study spots around NUS, check out a previous article, Seven Great Study Spots in NUS.

Studying in school all the time can be boring, so for a change in scenery, grab some friends and head out to cafes or libraries nearby to study. The National Libraries near NUS with a conducive atmosphere for studying include Jurong Regional Library and Queenstown Public Library. If you would rather study in the more laid back setting of a cafe, check out this list of study-friendly cafes compiled by NUS FAT (Food and Travel) Club.


 5. Sleep


Last but definitely not least- remember to catch up on some z’s! It can be tempting to forgo your sleep as you work hard and play hard – however, the first six weeks of the semester might have already caused you some sleep debt, and it wouldn’t be wise to add to it. Research has also shown that sleep is important in aiding the processes of focusing, learning, and memory consolidation – this means that sleeping more can actually help you learn and study more efficiently! So do yourself a favour and rest up – your body will thank you later :).

Now that you know how to make the most of your recess week, go forth, and have a wonderful week ahead!


We hope this article has been useful in helping you plan out how your recess week will go. How else might you be spending your recess week? Tell us in the comments or DM us on our IG @nusresidentiallife!



Bethany Low

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