Winter break provides a wonderful opportunity to rest and recharge after a busy fall semester. The holiday season can feel like a whirlwind, but in all likelihood, you'll still find plenty of downtime once you've completed fall term's papers and exams. Now, a new challenge will emerge: deciding how to use all that extra time.
As you consider your relatively laid-back schedule, you may be tempted to take one of two main approaches: relax and have fun or be as productive as possible. The healthiest solution, however, may involve a blend of the two: checking a few items off your long-term to-do list while also setting aside plenty of time for enjoyable activities.
Scheduling might seem silly after a cram-packed semester, but a basic plan can help you determine the best way to use your time off. To begin, gather ideas so you know all the ways you can fill your schedule. If you're short on inspiration, check out the suggestions highlighted below:
Fun Things to Do During College Winter Break
It's easy to get trapped in a productivity-at-all-costs mindset but remember: resting is productive. Make memories as you participate in these fun activities and events.
Learn to Cook
Ditch the stereotypes about college students living on ramen. In a few short weeks, you can transform from cooking novice to the top chef in your residence hall. Choose a few basic recipes you'd like to master and practice until you've perfected these simple dishes. Your friends and family members will be thrilled to sample your creations.
Reconnect With Old Friends
If you haven't seen your high school friends in some time, you'll likely have plenty of exciting news to share. Plan a gathering that allows you to recapture the magic of your youth. In-person excursions are fun when everybody's around, but digital dates can also be a blast. Any effort to reach out will be greatly appreciated.
Stay in Touch with New Friends
You may be surprised by how much you miss hanging out with your college friends during winter break — especially if you spend all your time off-campus. Feel free to check in on social media or by sending a quick text. If any college friends live nearby, make plans to hang out in person.
Decorate Your Living Space
If you stay on or near campus during the holiday season, you might feel nostalgic for the holiday decorations and traditions of your childhood. Try to recreate these within your dorm or apartment (and within a college budget). You can also redecorate in anticipation of the new semester.
Binge Watch a New Show
Perhaps you've been itching to dive into a new show but simply haven't had the time during the semester. This is your opportunity to get caught up. Choose something compelling enough that you'll enjoy watching several episodes a day. This could be relevant to your college experience or major, but TV-based escapism is also encouraged. Get loved ones in on the fun; this can be an excellent way to spend quality time with family or friends.
Screen time takes up a considerable portion of the modern college experience, particularly if you attend classes online. Unplugging — even for a few short hours — can do you a world of good.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Solid sleep habits can dramatically improve your GPA, and yet, you may have fallen victim to the typical college tendency to skimp on shut eye during the past semester. This is your chance to start fresh by establishing a more restful sleep schedule that you can continue as the spring semester commences.
Whether you escape to a warm-weather destination or take advantage of the snow and hit the slopes, you'll find plenty of great travel opportunities during holiday break. You can make wonderful memories while traveling with family, but you may discover that traveling with new or old friends is even better. Plenty of budget-friendly options are available, so hit the road and explore.
After months of diving into textbooks, you might feel ready for a break from the written word. Take a few days off if you need to, but then consider getting back in the habit of devouring as much text as possible. During break, you'll be in charge of what you read. Whether you read for pleasure or dive into relevant academic journals, you'll come away with new ideas and perspectives that can keep you inspired as the next semester approaches.
Productive Things College Students Can Do Over Winter Break
If you've grown accustomed to your goal-driven way of life as a college student, you may struggle to step back completely during winter break. Don't worry: you don't have to neglect your academic endeavors completely. This is a great time to prepare for the upcoming semester so that the first few weeks go more smoothly. Give yourself a head start with these ideas:
Complete a Short-Term Internship or Job
Seasonal positions abound during the holidays. Short-term internships may also be available. You'll be amazed by how much you can learn or how much extra money you can make in a few short weeks. You could return to school with new experiences or a padded bank account.
Plan Internships for Next Semester or Summer Break
Don't worry if you're unable to line up an internship for college winter break. Opportunities abound during the spring and summer months — and this is the perfect time to apply. Research the best positions and determine what employers want from their interns. Work on your resume and brush up on your interview skills. By the time you return to school, you may be set up for an exciting internship in the summer.
Research Study Abroad Trips
This task is both fun and productive. If you dream of studying abroad but have yet to truly explore this option, set aside some time to learn more about what this opportunity might involve. Take a closer look at experiences offered at your college — and how these might be integrated into your overall academic trajectory. Watching YouTube videos and visiting discussion boards can help you with the decision-making process. If you know any students who have already studied abroad, don't hesitate to ask them for advice.
Get Appointments Out of the Way
If you've neglected your physical health as of late, it's time to get caught up with routine physician and dentist visits. Mental health is also important, so don't hesitate to visit a psychologist or counselor if necessary. You'll never regret prioritizing your health.
Attend Professional Networking Events
Have you attended a conference or networking event for your industry of choice? If not, it's time to make your move. Opportunities may be available near your college or hometown, so do your research before break.
Many events are held entirely online these days, so your physical location during break need not stand in the way. Of course, you can combine fun with professional development and plan a trip to an important industry conference or other major networking opportunity.
Start Your Side Hustle
Winter break is a great time to launch your new hustle. Start hunting for clients or customers while you have time off. A little extra effort during the holiday season could help you streamline your entrepreneurial endeavors during the upcoming semester, when you might not have as much time to spare.
If you wanted to volunteer during the past term but simply didn't have the time, you now can commit yourself to making a difference for your community. Many organizations need volunteers during the holidays and would love to have your help. You'll feel great after volunteering, and you'll have something new to add to your resume.
Shadow an Accomplished Professional in Your Field of Choice
Step into the shoes of your future self for a day by shadowing somebody already on your desired career path. You'll gain valuable experience and a more accurate idea of the reality of working in your industry of choice. This can also be a powerful networking opportunity, as you'll meet several inspiring professionals during your day of shadowing.
A blend of fun and productivity can ensure that your winter months live up to your lofty expectations. Once you've tried the ideas highlighted above, you'll return to college feeling refreshed — and motivated to make the most of an exciting new term.