While you’re on break over the holidays, it’s easy to get into a lazy mode where you sit around doing nothing with your days, letting them mesh into one long continual nap fest.
While there is some value in getting shuteye, there’s only so much rest necessary and, to be fair, you do have other, more important things to do.
Like what, you ask? Don’t worry! We’ve compiled a handy list of helpful suggestions of things you could, should and will likely want to do over your holiday break.
So, make the most of every moment – you’ll be happy you did once you’re back into the swing of second semester!
1. Apply for scholarships and internships
If there was ever a time to apply, it’s now! You don’t have to spend the entire break applying for scholarships, but even if you devote a few hours to your scholarship applications; it will make a world of difference in your search. After all, it only takes one to win!
Here are some great resources to help get you started in your scholarship search:
• Black Friday Scholarships & Internships
• Let’s Talk Scholarships: Application Tips
• The 7 C’s of Winning Scholarships
• A Balancing Act: School and the Scholarship Search
• Scholarship Scam Red Flags
• Organizing Your Scholarship Search
• Fastweb’s Scholarship Directory
The same goes for your internship applications. It’s important to keep focused on your internship search throughout the year and never give up!
Here are some helpful resources to help in your internship search:
• 10 Ways to Stand Out at Your Internship
• College Bucket List: Complete an Internship
• Interning During the School Year
• Internship Interview Tips
Don’t forget, you can always arrange an informational interview or job shadow to learn about new career prospects (and network), too!
What better to get you in the holiday spirit than baking a pie? Your home will be filled with a delicious aroma and you’ll have a great gift to take to a holiday party or share with any house guests that stop by.
Check out Homemade for the Holidays for more great ideas for homemade holiday gifts.
3. Catch up with old friends (and stay in touch with new ones)
Pretty much everyone you went to high school with will be off school for the holidays. You can use this time to catch up, relive old times and get the gang together to reminisce about the good ol’ days.
Utilize tips to stay connected with old friends, like:
• Keeping in Touch
Stay healthy and combat the holiday bulge by keeping up with a regular exercise regimen. You’ll look – and, more importantly, feel – better.
Here are some resources to keep you motivated, healthy and on the right track:
• Helpful Student Health Tips
• 10 Scientific Reasons You Need a Good Night’s Sleep
• Stress Relief for Students
5. Plan next semester’s schedule
It’s time to get a jump start on planning next semester while you have time and there’s no time like the present!
Additionally, you should start creating a game plan for next semester now, before you get too busy to do so later.
6. Revamp your resume, cover letter and/or essays
Whether it’s a job, internship or college application resume, cover letter or essays, updated documents are always good to keep on hand at all times – after all, you never know when you might need them!
Opportunity knocks the moment you’re least expecting it so it’s always best to be prepared at a moment’s notice.
As a result, take the extra time during your break to work on all your important documents, adding any extra information you have had since you last updated them.
If you need any extra tips or reference materials, here are some helpful resources.
• Diversify Your Resume
• Writing a Resume Fresh Out of College
• 10 Professional Email Tips
• 7 Job Hunt Mistakes New Grads Should Avoid
• Recent College Graduate Resume Sample
• Receptionist Resume
• School Teacher Sample Resume
• Financial Analyst Sample Resume
• Cover Letters to Get You Hired
• Top Ten Cover Letter Tips
• Recent College Graduate Cover Letter Sample
• Ten Cover Letter Don’ts
• Internship Cover Letter Sample
For College Applications:
• College Application Resume Sample
7. Catch up on your reading
What we’re suggesting here is the kind of reading you actually enjoy – not your required reading for school. Seriously – when was the last time you read a book that you didn’t have to? Pick up a book because it looks interesting, cozy up and get lost in it. Enjoy – you’ll be happy you did!
Need a book suggestion? We’d recommend starting at the top and reading through all of the completely amazing, life-altering books on this list. Try this list if you’re looking for books that multi-task as standardized test-prep.
8. Spend quality time with family
You love them and they love you. No matter how much you hate to admit it, you miss them terribly. Why wait until the holidays to catch up with family?
Here are some tips to stay connected and deal when the going gets rough:
• What to Keep in Mind While You’re Keeping in Touch
• What Do I Need to Stay in Touch?
9. See a movie
Some of the best films of the year are released during the holiday season and, since you have a lot of free time on your hands, it’s a great opportunity to take advantage!
Ask a friend, family member or longtime crush to join and, perhaps, splurge on sharing that jumbo popcorn.
If you miss being at school, why not watch one of these 20 Must-See College Movies?
The holidays are a great time to volunteer. There are so many options out there, with something suited to everyone.
Check out the many resources available to find what you’d enjoy most:
• Student Volunteer Opportunities You’ll Love
• Top 10 Places for Students to Give Back
• Volunteer Scholarships
What else do you like to spend time doing over your holiday break?
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I am about four weeks into our six-week semester break, and I have to admit that I wish I was going back sooner. Now granted, I will probably remind myself of this thought a month from now, on another bleak, gray, subzero day in a long line of previous gray subzero days, when I’m running late, tired from working all day, and I can’t find one of my gloves, my scarf, or my hat (which all seem to disappear one by one as the winter creeps along), and inside my apartment the radiators are sighing warmly and outside it’s starting to snow. Again. By the time February rolls around in Chicago, all the charm of a snowy day is lost entirely, because the new snow usually just accumulates on top of the scallops of dirty, muddy sludge that have been frozen to the ground since December. On my way out the door, I will most likely slip on a patch of black ice and fall on my butt.
But right now, I’m missing the discipline of the weekly check-ins, the camaraderie of my classmates, just, really, the active involvement in a writing community. I’ve been writing consistently over the break (though not as much as I had hoped—see my earlier post about The Tudors)—but this past month of break has been a fresh reminder to that, in the end, writing is a solitary pursuit. This is a reality that cannot—and should not—be changed when you join an MFA program. But what the MFA can do is make you forget it sometimes. We always write alone, but it doesn’t feel quite so lonely when you’ve got work to turn in to teachers, writing groups to plan with classmates, readings to attend, assignments to talk about, required readings to examine, etc. It’s easier to remember that you’re writing for an audience when you are actually going to hear your work read before an audience the next week in class. It’s a lot easier to gauge whether what you’re doing is any good when you get immediate feedback from people whose opinions you respect.
As I head into my final stretch of graduate school, I begin to wonder (okay, fear) what will happen when I graduate: When it’s up to me to keep up with happenings in the Chicago literary world, to form writer’s groups, to seek feedback and help from people I trust. To keep myself from floating away in the purposeful disconnect between writing and real life (and when you’re floating, that’s usually when you’re doing your best writing!) and remembering my audience.
I’d love to hear from those of you who either have already graduated from an MFA program or who never went through a program and are still able, somehow, to balance all of the above issues. How do you make it work once you’re out of the MFA cocoon?
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