Now that the busy hubbub that is the week leading up to Christmas is over, you (if you’re a student) probably have a few more weeks home from school. Instead of sleeping in until 1 in the afternoon every day, today I’m sharing 11 things you can do to make the most of your winter break!
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1. Knock a book or two off of your reading list.
If I’m being completely honest, I probably haven’t finished a book in a year at least. I mean, I’ve been halfway through Jane Eyre and Bill Nye’s Undeniable ever since I started college! I know, that’s terrible, but clearly I understand how hard it is to actually sit down and read during the semester. Now that there’s time, start your mental and physical recharging with some hot chocolate and a good book!
2. Take up a new skill.
Always wanted to learn to draw? How about knit, write, code, or bake? If you find yourself continually adding to your DIY or recipe board on Pinterest but never actually doing any of it, now’s the perfect time! Check out Code Academy, Khan Academy, Skillshare, or even YouTube for tons of free lessons on a wide variety of topics. Who knows, you may just find your new passion!
3. Catch up with friends.
Adventure in Washington D.C. to see Potted Potter, 2015!
One of my favorite things about Christmas break is that all of my friends from high school are actually home at the same time! We’re only able to get together in person a time or two a year, so I’m a big advocate for making friendships a priority in life. It’s especially important to put effort into your friendships from your childhood/pre-college days because those are the people that know you at levels that your college and adult friends just can’t. They’ve grown and changed with you and still stuck around, so don’t ever make them question their importance to you!
4. Enjoy the local restaurants.
The thing I miss the most about being away from my hometown (outside of people of course) is probably the local food. This is definitely a big out-of-state student struggle! Schedule dinner at some of your favorite, non-chained, can’t-get-anywhere-else restaurants. That taco will taste so much better when you’ve been deprived of it for months, I can promise you that. 😉
5. Pick up a seasonal job.
As I discussed last week, the holiday season is insane. You know this. Why not take advantage of that and earn some extra cash? Ask around and see if anyone is looking for seasonal help. If you worked at a restaurant or big store in high school and maintained those connections, you’re in a good spot!
6. Clear out your room/closet.
The depth of this can vary depending on whether you plan on living at home over the summer and/or after graduation, but take a day or two and go through everything. My defining question for my own clearing process this past week was “would I use this in my house as an actual functioning adult?” If the answer to this isn’t a quick yes, get rid of it. I ended up halving the amount of clothes in my closet and have so much empty space in my room now. It’s so great and will really help get you in a fresh mindset for the new year!
7. Get up and make yourself a good breakfast.
“Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.”
I’ve been obsessed with this quote recently!
I know, I know, getting up in the morning is hard. But it will really help you later if you start getting on a healthy sleep schedule for the upcoming semester now. A good way to get motivated to start your day is, let’s be honest, through food. Plan out a delicious breakfast and you will definitely be excited to get out of bed!
Need some ideas? Check out my breakfast board on Pinterest here! Like I said, now’s a great time to try out a new recipe, right?
As I talked about in this post, Thanksgiving to New Year’s is what most people think of as the Season of Giving. Use your time off to help others! Would you rather be binge-watching Netflix or improving lives? You will meet some pretty amazing people and may just find a cause that truly speaks to your heart. Get involved with the meaningful things in life!
9. Get your life together.
College students are notorious for classifying themselves as a “hot mess.” While I’m definitely not denying that, try to use these few weeks between classes and club responsibilities to organize your life. Update your resume and LinkedIn. Apply for internships, scholarships, and/or other professional development opportunities (check out here, here, and here for ideas of things to work on!). After all, you now have the time to really sit down and put effort into them!
Also revise your semester-by-semester plan. If you’re coming off of a rough semester, reevaluate your strategies and research new study plans/ techniques. If you know you are going to be on co-op or a full-time internship for a semester, adjust your plan accordingly.
Pick up a new planner (it can literally be $5, nothing fancy), dust yourself off, and get set up for success!
10. Back up your laptop/phone/tablet.
I save all of my big technological back-ups for break because if something goes wrong, my dad’s right there to fix it. 😉 It’s so important to regularly back up all of your devices because, let’s face it, wouldn’t it just be your luck that your laptop will crash the night before a big project is due? External hard drives like the one above (which I have and love!) are super helpful because not only can they store a complete system image, but they can also hold all of your older documents and pictures to free up space on your computer. #SoMuchStorage
There’s also always a chance something could go wrong during a software update, causing you to have to reset your phone or tablet. I’ve definitely had this happen to me before but, with a recent back-up, it’s not that big of a deal and everything basically is back to normal! When I run a backup, I also like to import and delete my pictures from my phone while I’m home since it usually takes me a while to go through them all (as what happens when you keep over a thousand photos…I may have a problem).
In summary, save your future self a whole lot of headache and take care of your technology while you have the time and attention!
11. Prepare for the upcoming semester.
Yes, you do need to think about school eventually. Spring textbooks are a thing, which I really didn’t think about my first semester (and yeah, my books came in way late as a result). Finalize your class schedule and, while you’re taking advantage of end-of-year sales, purchase your textbooks so they arrive at your current address before you have to go back to school. I’ve been using Ebates while shopping online for a few years now and it’s awesome! When you access a website through Ebates and make a purchase, you receive a percentage of your subtotal back. Who doesn’t love free money? Check out the button below and get an extra $10 back on your first qualifying purchase!
While we’re talking about textbooks, hopefully you’ve brought home your fall books and notes as well. List those textbooks on half.ebay.com, amazon, and student web pages/sites to try and make some of your money back. I’ve sold the majority of my textbooks this way! Also take the time to go through your notes to see if there’s anything worth keeping. Less clutter in your dorm is always a plus!
For more tips on getting organized for the start of a new semester, check out my post here!
Above all, take time for you. Don’t waste all of this time off by spending three weeks on the couch, but don’t forget the importance of recharging too. Do what makes you happy, recover from the fall semester, and start gearing up for some spring success!
~What are your plans for break?