While you’re on break over the holidays, it’s easy to get into a lazy mode where you sit around doing nothing with your days, letting them mesh into one long continual nap fest.
While there is some value in getting shuteye, there’s only so much rest necessary and, to be fair, you do have other, more important things to do.
Like what, you ask? Don’t worry! We’ve compiled a handy list of helpful suggestions of things you could, should and will likely want to do over your holiday break.
So, make the most of every moment – you’ll be happy you did once you’re back into the swing of second semester!
1. Apply for scholarships and internships
If there was ever a time to apply, it’s now! You don’t have to spend the entire break applying for scholarships, but even if you devote a few hours to your scholarship applications; it will make a world of difference in your search. After all, it only takes one to win!
Here are some great resources to help get you started in your scholarship search:
• Black Friday Scholarships & Internships
• Let’s Talk Scholarships: Application Tips
• The 7 C’s of Winning Scholarships
• A Balancing Act: School and the Scholarship Search
• Scholarship Scam Red Flags
• Organizing Your Scholarship Search
• Fastweb’s Scholarship Directory
The same goes for your internship applications. It’s important to keep focused on your internship search throughout the year and never give up!
Here are some helpful resources to help in your internship search:
• 10 Ways to Stand Out at Your Internship
• College Bucket List: Complete an Internship
• Interning During the School Year
• Internship Interview Tips
Don’t forget, you can always arrange an informational interview or job shadow to learn about new career prospects (and network), too!
What better to get you in the holiday spirit than baking a pie? Your home will be filled with a delicious aroma and you’ll have a great gift to take to a holiday party or share with any house guests that stop by.
Check out Homemade for the Holidays for more great ideas for homemade holiday gifts.
3. Catch up with old friends (and stay in touch with new ones)
Pretty much everyone you went to high school with will be off school for the holidays. You can use this time to catch up, relive old times and get the gang together to reminisce about the good ol’ days.
Utilize tips to stay connected with old friends, like:
• Keeping in Touch
Stay healthy and combat the holiday bulge by keeping up with a regular exercise regimen. You’ll look – and, more importantly, feel – better.
Here are some resources to keep you motivated, healthy and on the right track:
• Helpful Student Health Tips
• 10 Scientific Reasons You Need a Good Night’s Sleep
• Stress Relief for Students
5. Plan next semester’s schedule
It’s time to get a jump start on planning next semester while you have time and there’s no time like the present!
Additionally, you should start creating a game plan for next semester now, before you get too busy to do so later.
6. Revamp your resume, cover letter and/or essays
Whether it’s a job, internship or college application resume, cover letter or essays, updated documents are always good to keep on hand at all times – after all, you never know when you might need them!
Opportunity knocks the moment you’re least expecting it so it’s always best to be prepared at a moment’s notice.
As a result, take the extra time during your break to work on all your important documents, adding any extra information you have had since you last updated them.
If you need any extra tips or reference materials, here are some helpful resources.
• Diversify Your Resume
• Writing a Resume Fresh Out of College
• 10 Professional Email Tips
• 7 Job Hunt Mistakes New Grads Should Avoid
• Recent College Graduate Resume Sample
• Receptionist Resume
• School Teacher Sample Resume
• Financial Analyst Sample Resume
• Cover Letters to Get You Hired
• Top Ten Cover Letter Tips
• Recent College Graduate Cover Letter Sample
• Ten Cover Letter Don’ts
• Internship Cover Letter Sample
For College Applications:
• College Application Resume Sample
7. Catch up on your reading
What we’re suggesting here is the kind of reading you actually enjoy – not your required reading for school. Seriously – when was the last time you read a book that you didn’t have to? Pick up a book because it looks interesting, cozy up and get lost in it. Enjoy – you’ll be happy you did!
Need a book suggestion? We’d recommend starting at the top and reading through all of the completely amazing, life-altering books on this list. Try this list if you’re looking for books that multi-task as standardized test-prep.
8. Spend quality time with family
You love them and they love you. No matter how much you hate to admit it, you miss them terribly. Why wait until the holidays to catch up with family?
Here are some tips to stay connected and deal when the going gets rough:
• What to Keep in Mind While You’re Keeping in Touch
• What Do I Need to Stay in Touch?
9. See a movie
Some of the best films of the year are released during the holiday season and, since you have a lot of free time on your hands, it’s a great opportunity to take advantage!
Ask a friend, family member or longtime crush to join and, perhaps, splurge on sharing that jumbo popcorn.
If you miss being at school, why not watch one of these 20 Must-See College Movies?
The holidays are a great time to volunteer. There are so many options out there, with something suited to everyone.
Check out the many resources available to find what you’d enjoy most:
• Student Volunteer Opportunities You’ll Love
• Top 10 Places for Students to Give Back
• Volunteer Scholarships
What else do you like to spend time doing over your holiday break?
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You know that whole "every summer has a story" quote, and how it sounds really romantic, bringing ideas of youth, night swimming, and hanging out with friends? You know what doesn't sound young, romantic or remotely cool in any way? "Every winter break has a story." It's really hard to romanticize winter break. You just got finished with finals and will head back to school in about a month. You're probably spending a lot of time indoors, maybe watching funny YouTube videos to de-stress from the semester or catching up on your TV shows that you neglected during the semester. You're also likely seeing distant relatives, which can call for the ever-so stressful question: "What do you plan with doing (insert major here)?"
Even though winter break bucket lists don't exist like they do for the summer break, there are definitely ways to make these three week memorable and productive. Here are five ways to spend your winter break! (Maybe you'll even come away with a "winter break story!")
1. Volunteer- So, maybe with all that end of the semester stress, you've forgotten to take some time to give back. The holidays are a great time to volunteer. You can look into local community service opportunities, such as food pantries and soup kitchens. Or, if you can't find any nearby places that need help, check out DoSomething.org. This site is filled with great ways to give back, and some- like making Valentine's cards for those in nursing homes or collecting first aid supplies for homeless shelters- can be done from the comfort of your own home.
2. Save up- Maybe you bought one too many Starbucks coffees during finals, or maybe you broke the bank trying to get good gifts for every person on your list. The holidays are an expensive time; you buy gifts for your family and friends, go to restaurants to catch up with high school friends, and go to the movies to finally see that one film you've been dying to watch but never got around to. In order to avoid starting your spring semester broke, you can try to find a job back home. A good place to start is your old summer or high school job. Even if you normally work during the semester, you could ask for more hours or if anyone needs their shifts covered. We all know that the whole "broke college kid" is inevitable, but the less broke you can be, the better.
3. Work out- OK, so a little disclaimer here: I live in Arizona, where the winters are like 60-70 degrees in the daytime so it's totally still possible for me to go on a run, or even drive to the gym without having to worry about snow or rain. (For everyone not from Arizona, no one here is really capable of driving in the rain. Literally, not a single person, and I am including myself in this.) So, I understand that my goal to get outdoors and be active is much easier said than done for all you out on in the Midwest to East Coast. But, I'm including this on my list of activities for winter break because in the midst of finals and essays, you likely found yourself living on caffeine, eating junk food, and definitely not getting eight hours of sleep per night. This is just a reminder to spend this winter break taking care of yourself and spend this break focusing on your health.
4. Apply for whatever you need to apply for- Chances are, there is at least one application that you need to knock out, whether it be for a scholarship or a job. So, personal example: in the Math World, they're really big on these things called REUs, where you go to another university over summer and participate in a math research project. The applications are typically due in February to March so I'm hoping to make a dent in them before returning to school.
5. Read!- I actually really like reading things that are not BuzzFeed lists or Fantasy Football team expert advice (shout out to the realization that I should finally drop the 49ers defense/ special teams from my roster). It's just that sometimes I get too overwhelmed with my classes and job (read: I forget how to smartly time-manage my life) that I postpone reading or finishing a book I'm halfway through. I'm a big believer in reading for fun (it's become a subject of my HuffPo posts on more than one occasion) because it's wonderful to learn and to appreciate literature without a teacher making you. For this winter break, I'm hoping to read The Alchemist, The Other Wes Moore, and Reign of Error.
What are your plans for winter break? More specifically, I'm actually always wondering what people do in the Midwest and East Coast with the weather being freezing. (To me, "freezing" means anything below fifty degrees.) Let me know in the comments below!