In recovery: Making the most of your winter break
Congratulations on completing your first semester. You've conquered your assignments and exams with your sanity intact, and are looking forward to a few weeks of recovery. Maybe you're going back home for the holidays, or staying on residence, or you lived at home all along, and are just enjoying more free time. Regardless, you probably have two major urges: Sleep and do nothing.
While it is important for your wellbeing to have some alone time to relax and decompress, it's equally important that you use this time wisely, in ways that will benefit you when you inevitably return to school. Some of these are simple things, and some of them are challenging, but they're all guaranteed to benefit you. The first thing you should do when your break begins is…
Do a post-mortem, and plan for the future
For those that don't know the term, in both the journalism and business worlds, a "post-mortem" is a meeting held after the end of a project, to determine what worked, what didn't work, and how to improve next time. Now that you've had a semester to navigate school, ChiU writes about how the break is the perfect time to hold a post-mortem on your own performance. Take a look at your study habits, your work habits, and your general life habits. What did you do well? What did you do poorly? What things do you wish you'd thought of before you started the semester? Now's the time to look back, and figure out what comes ahead. On the more practical side, this also means…
Getting your life back in order
Chances are that near the end of a semester, as assignments and exams pile up, your life may get a bit disorganized. I'm talking about papers scattered about, dust everywhere (who has time to clean), laundry piling up, the works. That's fine, but now's the time to clean it up. If you're still in your living space, deal with the accumulated mess while you have the time. As for yourself, now's the time to get that haircut, get some new clothes, and make yourself as fresh as your new start. This doesn't even have to mean filling your break with work, since all you really need to take care of this is one solid cleaning day.
Throw out the notes you won't need
There's a very specific bit of advice I want to give when it comes to cleaning your space out, based on personal experience, too. Like many people, I fell into the trap of hanging on to my school assignments and notes, on the grounds that "I may need them later." In truth, you probably won't, and as each semester goes by, they'll probably pile up. So, go through them, maybe keep a few things, and chuck the rest. It'll free more space than you think.
Get a holiday job, or get ready for a summer one
This is a tough one to accept, but multiple sources cite it as a good financial strategy. If you got the jump on job-hunting in October, you can pick up a seasonal position for the holidays. Even if it's retail, it's a chance to put some extra money in your pocket while you have the time. And if you didn't think to look for work, you can invest in your future by inquiring about summer jobs. Believe it or not, it's not too early to pass out resumes, book some interviews, and generally investigate the upcoming job market. At the very least, you'll be beating the rush.
Read or watch some media that isn't school related
Doing so is good for your mind, and for giving yourself a little mental break. I recommend a good book, especially since you may have the urge to finally read something that isn't for a class. A television show or video game will do just fine, too. A break is just enough time to finish something, but not enough time to have your brain turn to mush. You'll appreciate the time off before hitting class again.
Ultimately, though, you should still find time to relax during your winter break, and you've earned the time to do so. While there are things you can be doing to make your next semester a success, don't make the break entirely about them. There are benefits to sleeping in and doing nothing, too, just don't make it entirely about that. But be sure to get it in before school starts again, so you're fresh and ready to dive back in.