Some see the time off from school during Winter Break as a time to rest and recover for the Spring semester ahead. Others may see it as a time to work on getting ahead of priorities that may be difficult to take care of when school rolls back around. As crazy as it may sound to say, it should be a mix of both relaxation and being “on your grind”. With over a month off from your typical academic workload, there are a variety of ways in which you can take advantage of the free time:
Start Applying for Career Opportunities
One of the biggest mistakes that many people make during their college career is not working towards “stacking” their resumes early on. To stack your resume means to make it stand out from the competition beyond just format and GPA; you need to show future companies you’d like to work for that you’re experienced in the field. Whether it be seeking out an internship, a co-op, an externship, or something similar, all take time and dedication towards fulfilling the requirements of each application. When I began applying for internships, I’d wait until my Winter Break rolled around, as I didn’t want the process of applying to interfere with my academics. Unfortunately I waited a bit later than most to begin seeking internships out, so now I find myself in a spot where I feel as if I’m having to “catch up” to my peers resume-wise. There’s no better time than when you’re on break to work on getting ahead; utilize your Winter Break to knock out those often-lengthy applications.
Find A Seasonal Job
It can be difficult to pay for school-related expenses while you’re balancing academics, social life, and the various other aspects of day-to-day college life. Winter Break provides a substantial amount of time for most college students to find seasonal work, which is great for those who would like to have cash to spend in the Spring without having to work during the semester. I’ve always found myself working during breaks to have money to cover my semesterly expenses, so that I don’t run into spending issues while trying to focus on school. Whether it be your local mall in need of extra employees for the holidays, or parents in your neighborhood in need of a sitter for their children, there’s always something to find.
Get Into A Workout Routine
Finding motivation to stay focused on fitness during the school year can be hard with all that life throws at you. Early morning classes, finding time for mid-day naps, and having to stay up late to cram for exams can really be demotivating for any kind of fitness plan. One of the best ways to keep yourself on track for staying fit is to establish a routine that works for you, and taking the time to find that routine over your Winter Break is definitely doable. Setting up a routine that works with your sleep schedule and takes into consideration your typical work schedule can be troubling when free time is limited. I’ve personally struggled with keeping up with my running routine almost every new semester, as I’ve come into semesters with bad sleeping habits that kept me from wanting to hit the gym, so instead I found myself taking naps instead of working on staying fit. Take time with the time you have off to see what works (and what doesn’t work) for you when it comes to having a good workout routine; your body will definitely thank you later on.
Establish A Solid Sleep Schedule
Similar to what was said in the previous paragraph, using the free time you have over Winter Break to set-up a good sleep schedule is key to finding success in your Spring semester. Aside from it helping with some of the issues related to workout motivation, it can really make a difference in your academic and social life. Studies have shown that sleep plays an important role in academic performance and how one functions during the day. Students who get five to seven hours of solid sleep a night meet the recommended amount of sleep time necessary for daily functioning, while those who operate on less are more likely to find themselves facing performance issues. Throughout my time in college, I’ve found that my peers who are consistent with their sleep schedules often see consistency in their grades as well. Personally, I’ve found my sleepless semesters to be my most academically disappointing semesters, even when the work isn’t overwhelming. It can be hard to get in the habit of putting yourself to bed and waking up at times that suit you best when the Spring semester rolls around, so Winter Break should definitely be the time to get in the habit of sleep wellness.
Try New Things
One of the more difficult things to do when you’re busy with school work during the semester is to try out new things. Whether it be attending a yoga class, learning a new skill, or attempting new recipes in the kitchen, there are a variety of activities that could enhance your time during college if you gave yourself the time to try them out, but getting starting can be tricky if you don’t come into the semester prepared. I personally found myself wanting to make every new semester of college better than any of the previous ones, so I’d commit myself to learning at least one or two new things each break. One time it was learning how to cook and how to be better at parallel parking, with the following break being for learning how to be better organized and more effective at writing papers. In doing so, I could walk into the following semester without the stress of trying something new and not having much free time to address any issues I encountered along the way. Winter break gives an amount of time for trial and error; don’t let the time slip by.
While Winter Break is what you ultimately make of it, often it’s the only time after the academic year has begun that you find yourself with an ample amount of free time. Whether you want it to be a time to kickback or a time to grind, make sure you do what’s necessary to be happy with the road ahead.