As a senior, I’ve seen relaxing winter breaks, ones where I’ve worked way too much and come back to second semester burnt out, and others where I just did not accomplish everything that I had hoped. THIS year I’m taking a stand and making sure I create the winter break of my choosing, starting with a handy-dandy to do list. Although the things you want and need to do may be different from mine, this list should give you some ideas of ways to be productive over the break!
1. Update my LinkedIn account
As I apply for post-grad opportunities and spring internships, I realize that many places allow you to apply with your LinkedIn account, but mine, however, is not up to date enough for me to do that. So if I just take the energy now to update my profile, I can make the application processes a lot easier and do some virtual networking to find more opportunities related to my interests.
2. Revamp my sleep schedule
This one is so underrated. Most of us will sleep whenever we can. What’s more important is creating a healthy habit for next semester. If you have 9 AMs everyday next semester, get in the habit of going to bed at midnight and waking up at 8 AM now, so by next semester, your body will be used to this schedule and you’ll still get a healthy amount of sleep. Personally, I have the option to wake up later on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I know I’ll benefit from waking up at the same time everyday and using my morning productively.
3. Read a book I NEED to read.
I’m a self-help kind of person. I started a book on time management last semester that helped me strengthen that muscle a bit, but now I can actually finish the book and get all that I need from it, so my time management skills can be like muscle memory for me in the future.
4. Read a book I WANT to read.
Sometimes we just need the down time. Even if you’re not a huge reader, a good book can be a nice change of pace from our hum drum routine and allow a sweet escape we don’t always make time for during the semester.
5. Spring (winter?) cleaning!
For me, a cluttered house is a cluttered mind … I have no peace when things are out-of-order! There’s no better time than now to declutter your life and if you don’t know where to start, try your wardrobe. It seems crazy at first, but getting ready in the morning is now a LOT easier for me. Once you master the minimalist way of living in one area (for me, it was the wardrobe), you’ll be surprised at all the other things you no longer feel attached to that you can get rid of indefinitely!
6. Buy textbooks
You may be the “let me wait until syllabus week to see if I’ll actually need the book for the class before buying” type, but don’t sell yourself short! During the weeks before the semester starts, there are a lot of opportunities to rent books or buy them used, which will be a heck of a lot cheaper. Once the semester hits, all the early birds have exhausted those options and you’ll be left to buy the brand new $300 copy of the book. Spare yourself the trouble and look start shopping now to save some cash. If you have a friend in your classes, you may be able to share books, splitting the cost and conveniently gaining a study partner. Either way, you’ll be ahead of the game and won’t fall behind on any homework or reading early in the semester.
7. Spend time with old friends or family.
Maybe you’ve been dying to catch up with your friends from study abroad, or visit your favorite cousin in Boston. Even better if you can make a road trip of it and enjoy a little getaway to clear your mind from your responsibilities at school and home before coming back in the spring!
8. Clean out my email.
There are two types of people in this world: those who still have every email ever sent to them in the history of the world and those who try to keep the inbox under 30 at all times. I’m the latter of the two, but this semester got a little crazy and I currently have about 40 emails (gasp) sitting in my inbox. The decluttering (minimalism, again!) I do now will make life easier when I need to find something specific in my inbox.
9. Speaking of post-grad …
Do you know what you’re doing with your life yet, seniors? I sure don’t. Maybe it’s grad school, maybe it’s a year of service, maybe it’s a gap year … Whatever it may be, there’s prep work to be done that will make our lives easier next semester. Studying for the GRE, asking for letters of recommendation, filling out applications, visiting new cities you’re considering relocating to, looking for jobs at home, you name it … Doing all this now will save us from losing our heads after spring break when we realize there’s 8 weeks left until real life is supposed to start and just over 6 months before debt collectors start calling for student loan repayment options. And if you’re not a senior … Have you decided what you’ll be doing next summer? It’s never too early to start the internship search or look for summer courses to either catch up from switching your major or get ahead so you’ll only have to take 4 classes your senior year.
For all of us, this means something different. Some of us can’t go without working for a whole month … I’d recommend saving up for something big (a massage, a mani/pedi, a nice dinner, seeing a show, the list goes on) and doing that right at the end of break before starting classes so your batteries are recharged. Others of us can watch Netflix to our heart’s content for the month. Whatever your vice, give in and treat yourself one good time before heading back to Hawk Hill in January!