Instead of going from 0 to 60 in a few seconds, the end of the semester can feel like going in reverse, from 60 to 0 in a matter of hours. All the cramming for exams, late night homework sessions, endless deadlines, campus activities, and sports practices and games suddenly stop, and you’re left twiddling your thumbs wondering what to do.
Of course, the first week or so of winter break is often spent catching up with family, getting some much-needed sleep, and enjoying some home-cooked meals. But what then? If you’re wondering what to do over winter break, we’ve got some activity ideas that will satisfy your need for fun and entertainment while also giving you a sense of accomplishment.
Activities to Do Over Your College Break
Of course, it’s called “break” for a reason. Stepping back from the grind and routine of school to relax and enjoy your time off is important for starting the next semester rejuvenated. Here are some things that can keep you active without feeling overwhelmed.
What have you always wanted to learn how to do? Bake bread from scratch? Cook a full meal? Build a bookcase? Crochet a blanket? Plan an event? Over the break, identify a skill you would like to develop and read up on it, find someone to teach you, or watch a tutorial video. Then, give it a go. But don’t put pressure on yourself to fully master the skill over the break. Just have fun.
When we live in an area, we are often the last ones to visit the events and attractions that draw others to our town. Is your area famous for barbeque? Jazz? HikSkiing? The arts? During the break, make a point to explore places near you that you’ve never been, visit attractions you’ve never seen, or do activities you’ve never participated in.
The semester gave you little time to take care of yourself. Over the break, give yourself permission to get a little pampering by getting a massage, trying a new hairstyle, going to the spa, or sporting a new fashion style. You can even ask for these as Christmas gifts to save on your budget!
You’ve done your share of heavy reading for class. Now it’s time to read strictly for pleasure. Unplugging from your devices and cozying up with a favorite book and holiday drink will allow you to escape into another world for a few hours before coming back to reality.
You don’t want your break to be spent entirely in front of the TV, but picking one guilty-pleasure show that you want to catch up on and binge watching it over the holidays can be a great way to unwind.
- Plan an Outing with Friends
Whether it’s old friends from high school or new friends from college, plan to get together for a fun evening out at a concert, restaurant, club, or theater production. Day outings to a museum, sporting event, state park, or shopping mall can also be enjoyable. Or host a party and invite everyone over to your place.
Staying Busy Over Break
Making sure you have enough downtime is important over break, but planning to get a few things done that you’ve neglected and doing a little prep for the upcoming semester will take some pressure off when you return to campus. Pick from these ideas for being productive over break without getting stressed out.
- Get a Part-time Job – or Create One
Many businesses need part-time help over the holidays. Finding one with just the right number of hours will give you something to do while putting money in the bank for school expenses. You can also try your hand at your own business – snow removal, babysitting while parents shop or go to holiday events, making Christmas crafts or cookies to sell, organizing or decorating spaces – any entrepreneurial endeavor you undertake will look great on your resume later on.
Another great resume booster, volunteering over break can serve others but also benefit yourself. Whether you volunteer for a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, nursing home, community event, or non-profit, you’ll gain valuable experience learning how to work with others to accomplish a goal and gaining insight into the particular business you assist.
Whether you are involved in athletics or simply want to lose the freshman 15, going to the gym, walking/running, or doing simple exercise routines at home will help develop good workout habits for when you head back to school. These will boost both your physical and mental health.
- Take care of appointments
Unless it was an emergency, you likely neglected some of your routine appointments during the semester, especially those relating to your health. The break is a great time to get into the doctor for your yearly physical, get your teeth cleaned, visit the chiropractor, or get your eyes checked.
- Prepare for the Upcoming Semester
You probably don’t want to think about going back to school while you’re on break, but setting aside a little time to look ahead and get organized can go a long way to making your spring semester successful. Doing things like selling your old textbooks and buying your new ones; sorting through everything you brought home; evaluating what went well last semester, what went poorly, and how to improve; creating a list of semester goals and an action plan for accomplishing them; and using your syllabus to get a head start on your planner can all help you feel prepared to return to campus.
- Explore Future Learning Opportunities
The break is a perfect time to research and apply for internships and travel abroad opportunities for the summer and future semesters. You can also explore campus jobs or research projects in your department to gain valuable experience that will give you a leg up when you start your career.
Striking a Balance
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" – or girl! This old proverb reminds us that without time off from work (or school), a person becomes monotonous. We all need a break, but striking a balance between fun and productivity, even during our time off, will give us the down time we so desperately need while also keeping us sharp for when we dive back in.
This winter break, be sure to make some time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate while also accomplishing those few things that will set you up for success next semester. And if one of your goals is to get back into the classroom for your bachelor’s or master’s degree, the holiday break is the perfect time to check out our accelerated, online programs and get enrolled for the spring. Call us today to get started!