When Winter Break Comes, Don’t Chill Too Much

As the semester winds down, the workload certainly does not. Visions of sugar plums may be dancing in your heads, but only because you’re probably delusional from the combined lack of sleep and increased stress levels.

When the final fleeting freedom of winter break arrives, you must resist the temptation to lay in bed all day and do absolutely nothing. And yes, binge watching a tv series on Netflix constitutes nothing. After giving yourself some time to relax, winter break is the perfect opportunity to be more productive than usual without the time consumption of class.

Here are 10 ways to make sure you don’t fall for the winter break lull.

  1. Update your resume. A resume is a tool every student/young professional should have. Load that list with every piece of education and experience you have had. Don’t forget any volunteer work or special training you’ve gone through. While you’re at it, practice your interview skills with a family member.
  2. Apply for an internship. Once you’ve got that new and improved resume, send it in and see if an interview come out of it. Paid or unpaid, internships are great resume boosters, as well as helpful ways to gain experience. They also establish an instant network which you can draw on when you officially enter the professional world.
  3. Apply for a job. Lots of places, especially in retail, are hiring. It may be seasonal work, but hey, it’s a job and beggars can’t be choosers. Typical college options like Wegmans and Starbucks [especially the one in Fayetteville] are hiring. CNY Gym Centre in Shoppingtown Mall is looking for class instruction and party helpers. Aerie and Ulta Beauty at Destiny USA are both looking, and you’ll get the added bonus of discounted merchandise. If you don’t end up getting hired, then you can do lots of things for some extra saving or spending money. Babysit, dogsit, housesit. They may not be “real jobs” but they pay well!
  4. Learn how to cook. Most college kids will probably be staying with family, so take advantage of your older, wiser relatives and draw on their cooking experience. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or maybe even siblings to teach you anything from basic cooking skills to a new fancy recipe to impress your friends. As you age into adulthood, you should really master simple adult tasks like feeding ourselves.
  5. Get ahead. Make sure you order all your books for the Spring semester ahead of time so you’re not rushing and falling behind during the first week of class. Don’t forget to buy your notebooks and pencils as well. Maybe even––dare I say it––read ahead so you don’t have homework!
  6. Try volunteering. ‘Tis the season for giving. Give back to your community by volunteering at your local soup kitchen, shoveling driveways and sidewalks, and giving up your time for others.
  7. Grab some friends, or just yourself, and doing some travelling. Live life while you still have freedom and virtually no obligations, because that time is fading quickly. Visit a friend or family in another state, or maybe even have a stay-cation and take a roadtrip to the next town. Immerse yourself in local culture and history. The change in environment will be a welcome break from the monotony of home, and you may just learn something.
  8. Read a book. Reading is a lost habit, and more people should grab that book that’s been sitting on their shelf for months. There are no excuses; no class and no homework to get in your way. Your time is limitless and you can dedicate yourself to finally finishing that book you promised yourself you would.
  9. Get involved in your town. Get involved in local politics. Go to Town Council meetings and research your representation on the local, state, and national level. If you haven’t already, register to vote. Take an active role in the future of your community and country.
  10. Work on yourself. Take some me-time. Learn a new skill like skiing or a foreign language. There are tons of helpful [and free] sites out there like Duolingo to help students on a low budget. Re-immerse yourself in an old hobby. Maybe you used to paint, draw, play an instrument, or practice carpentry. It’s never too late to either pick up a new activity or practice an old one. Do something you love. It’s so important to do things purely for your own enjoyment to help your mental health.

No matter what you do, don’t forget to be thankful for every opportunity life gives you. Cherish your friends and family. Spread the joy, love, and spirit of the holidays to all those you encounter.