After final exams, most of us are ready to curl up in bed with a mug of our favorite winter drink and binge watch our favorite Netflix series all day. That is, until the night rolls around and it’s time to head to our hometown’s local pub to catch up with high school friends. Relaxing and enjoying your winter break is very important after a busy semester, however Jan. 12 will be here sooner than you know it. With almost a month of free time, here are ten things we suggest you do in order to return from winter break refreshed, organized, and ready to tackle a new semester.
Make a New Years resolution – A new year gives you the opportunity to set new goals to challenge yourself. Even though setting a New Year’s resolution may be cliché, try setting a realistic and attainable goal that you know can last for 12 months.
Volunteer – The holiday season is traditionally known for being the time to give back to the less fortunate. Contact your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to see what you can do to show support. You can also try to get in touch with the offices at community service programs. As public relations professionals, we can aid small non-profit organizations with their websites, public relations or social media profiles. You’ll be strengthening your resume while lending a hand to a worthy cause.
Perfect your resume – Did you gain valuable skills during your courses this semester? Or learn how to use Cision at your internship? These are things you can add to your resume while you spend time perfecting it. Try to de-clutter your resume by eliminating unnecessary words and add strong, concrete adjectives and verbs to describe your past job duties that will highlight the skills you like to use most. This also means cleaning up your LinkedIn profile!
Exercise! – During the semester, with classes, extracurricular activities, work, and group projects, students tend to get overwhelmed and don’t make time to go to the gym. However, it’s common knowledge that regular exercise helps reduce stress. Go for a run at your local track field, or take advantage of short-term gym membership offered to students during winter and summer breaks. Either way, get your heart rate pumping! Once school starts, whether it is going for a run around campus, or taking a yoga class at the IBC, it will be easier to incorporate some exercise into your weekly schedule.
Learn a new skill – Being a versatile person with experience and skills in many different areas can make you a valuable (thus, well paid) employee after graduation. However, learning new software and programs can be really time consuming. Download a free trial of a software program, such as Photoshop and spend your time off looking at YouTube tutorials to learn how to use it. Keep in mind, many universities—including Temple—also offer their students access to Lynda, where they can watch tutorials and lessons on everything from Adobe Creative Suite to creating a social media marketing plan.
Read a good book – Reading in college usually means peer-editing your classmate’s assignments or skimming through a book for English class moments before a quiz. But when is the last time you put all distractions away and read a book for enjoyment? Take a trip to your local library or Barnes & Noble and find a title that appeals to you. Nothing beats getting caught up in a good book!
Plan your spring semester schedule – Class is probably the last thing any student wants to be thinking about during winter break, but now is the time to start visualizing your days and planning out your weekly spring semester schedule. If your professors have already started to send out syllabi, take a look at it now, so you’re not intimidated on the first day of classes. While you’re at it, look at the course description to try and see which classes will need the most study time. If you feel like last semester might have been overwhelming, reflect on it and figure out what you may have done wrong and make a plan to fix it.
Apply for scholarships – Lots of scholarship deadlines are coming up in the next few months, which will be right in the middle of the semester. It’s best to get a head start on searching for scholarships and begin applying now. By taking your time to craft your scholarship essays now, you’ll relieve yourself of some stress once the semester starts. Think of it as giving yourself a gift!
Take winter courses – Winter break for most college students is a chance to unwind from the stress class can bring. But for other students, it’s an opportunity to catch up or even move faster in their studies by taking a winter class. At Temple University, winter term only lasts one week, so it’s a quick and efficient way to earn more credits. Just remember that because the course is only a week long, all the coursework of a semester is packed into five days!
Most importantly, rest – As a busy college student, sleep is a luxury that we sometimes cannot afford. It’s actually a fact that college students are among the most sleep deprived group of people in the United States. Between the all-nighters to finish papers and exams, and a crazy party schedule on the weekend, our sleeping patterns get all out of whack. Try to practice healthy sleeping habits during break so your body is trained once school starts and you get back to school feeling rejuvenated.
I hope these tips help you stay productive over winter break. Happy holidays!
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Stacey Motachwa