I don’t know about you, but this past semester has REALLY kicked my butt! All the exams, club meetings, classes, group projects, parties, and internship work can be really burdensome. After finishing up final projects and final exams, the main things on your mind are your bed and how much relaxing you’re going to do over Winter Break, right? WRONG! Winter Break is about a month and a half so it’s easy to become lazy and only hang out with friends. However, this break is the perfect time to be productive and make some changes for the New Year. Here are five ways to be productive during winter break as a college student:
If you have a good relationship with a former summer employer, give him or her a call and ask if it would be okay for you to work until you go back to school. Since they already know your work ethic, they might be more willing to put you on payroll. If you do well during the winter break, maybe your employer will let you come back during the summer. If you don’t have a great rapport with your summer employer or have never had a summer employer, try your nearest shopping mall and check if they are hiring anyone. Retail may not be your ideal job, but it’s a great way to earn cash over break.
Since it can be difficult finding a paid gig during winter break, the next best thing is to intern or volunteer. Although some internships pay, most of them don’t. However, this should not deter you. A professor told my class once that interning for free or volunteering for a cause is better than sitting at home doing nothing.
3) Self Evaluate
Just as professors give you grades based on your exams and projects; it’s important that you give yourself a grade after every semester. Ask yourself questions like, “what did I excel in this semester?”, “what did I struggle with this semester?” and “what did I do during the Fall semester that I can do differently Spring semester?” If you do this for your academics and extra circular activities, you can go into the Spring semester feeling focused and confident.
Ladies, I know this may sound corny and fellas, journaling isn’t just for girls. Jotting down your inner thoughts that you don't want to tell anyone (not even your friends), is a great way to get rid of pinned up anxiety and frustration you felt last semester. But journaling is most effective if you write as if no one will read it. If that’s too much of a scary thought for you, rip it up when you finish writing it. Whether you want to face it or not, it's time to get real and honest with yourself BEFORE the New Year.
5) Recharge Your Batteries
Now I know in the beginning I mentioned that it’s easy to become lazy and ONLY hang out with your friends. Just to be clear that does not mean to alienate your friends and family. It means, however, that there needs to be a balance between having fun and being productive. But make sure you DO have fun. You don’t want to burn yourself out before next semester. So make sure you hang out with friends you haven’t seen in a while, build relationships with people you meet over break, and maintain relationships with your college friends that you can’t see as often as you did when you all were on campus. No one wants to feel as if their only a “college friend”.
PLEASE Remember to be careful what you post on social media when you’re having fun though. Now adays employers will dig up your “digital dirt” to find an excuse not to hire you. You don’t want to be passed up on a job because you decided to put a picture of you chugging alcohol with your friends. This applies even if you are of the drinking age.
If you follow these five steps, you won’t have any problems being productive during the winter break. Remember, being productive does not have to be boring or draining. Think about it as designated time to build relationships with people in your field, help you learn more about yourself, and find out if your chosen career field is the right one for you. Who knows, your efforts during the break could land you a job in the future or inspire you to go into business for yourself. If I missed anything, feel free to comment below.
Chelsea Hamlet is a senior majoring in Communication and Social Interaction at SUNY Oswego with a minor in Creative Writing. She has interned at The Wendy Williams Show, 107.5 WBLS, and is currently interning for the Career Services Department at SUNY Oswego, where she gives students and faculty advice on how to properly brand themselves online. You can reach out to her on Twitter (@_iamchelseaa) or LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/chelseaahamlet/).