Here’s what you really need to start doing during your winter break
Well, school’s out for the holidays, and you’re about to enjoy a break you’ve probably waited a long time for. Maybe you’re going to spend time with friends or family, or just sleep a lot and relax. While it’s important to take some time off for your own wellbeing, it’s also important to make good use of this time to benefit yourself, your education and your career. Don’t groan, though, most of the stuff you can do is very simple, and about 2/3rds of it can be done on your laptop, lying in bed, with a warm drink at your side. So, without making it too complicated, here’s what you can be doing during your break to get the jump on life, school and your career.
Throw some stuff out, and generally declutter
Take a look at all of the stuff you don’t need, and look into getting rid of it. Your high school notes? You probably don’t need them. Handwritten college notes? Don’t pitch them all, but only keep the stuff you’re actually going to need. Swag and knickknacks? If it’s just taking up space, get it out of there. It’ll set you up right for you next semester, and also clear your mind. Don’t just limit that to the physical work, too. Go into your email inbox, which is probably flooded, and clear it out. Go through your files and documents on your computer, sort them out, and delete the stuff you don’t need (or, if it’s important, but you don’t need it any time soon, offload it to a portable hard drive.) This is especially important if you’re in a program that’s based around photos, videos, audio or anything else that takes a lot of computer space. Your laptop will thank you.
Come into some cash while you declutter
This is less “do it now” and more “figure it out now so you can do it later,” but since the semester’s done, got any textbooks you don’t need? Sell them for some quick cash! When school starts up again, Centennial College has its own internal used textbook board for doing so. This goes for anything else you don’t need. Trinkets, collectibles, DVDs….anything you can post online somewhere. But that’s not the only thing you can do. When you started school, did you apply for any scholarships or bursaries? Even if you did, now’s the time to look again, because new ones are coming out all the time, and piles of cash go unclaimed each year when these scholarships aren’t discovered. So, take a couple hours one day, and have a look. And while you’re doing a bit of online research…
Take some really easy steps towards getting your career going
If you’re graduating after the spring semester, now’s the time to get your eventual career hunt in order. Centennial College’s Career Services department has a ton of resources available that you can use, and you could spend some time familiarizing yourself with them, and making an action plan for the next semester.
At the same time, the break’s a perfect time to work on your online footprint. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, it’s a good time to make one, since pretty much every employer’s going to look you up on there anyway. At the same time, if you have any work from college that’s worth showing off, like graphic design, videos, or writings, it’s easy to make a free personal website on something like WordPress to serve as a showcase of your skills, which you can then link at the bottom of every résumé. Speaking of that, look your résumé over, give it a new edit, make sure it’s up to date, and spend some time going through and pruning your social media, removing anything employers might find objectionable.
Take care of all your personal business
Is there anything you’ve been waiting to do that you didn’t have time for during school? If so, get it over with now! For example, if you drive, now’s the time to take your car in for servicing. If you’ve gotten kind of shaggy, it’s a good time to get a haircut. Speaking of getting job-ready, you can look into your wardrobe, and make sure that you have at least two formal job-interview-ready outfits. Basically, if there’s anything you can improve in your life that’ll take a couple of hours, now’s the time to get on it, when you have those hours.
And really, that’s what all of this is about, making the best use of the time you have. Relaxing and spending time with family and friends is also a good use of your time, but by taking care of some of these things (which, again, don’t have to take long or be too complicated) you’ll make your return to school just a little bit easier, and a bit more productive.
By Anthony Geremia