It’s December and winter break is (almost) here. Some of you are in the throws of final exams while others are already done and back at home ready to do ab-so-lute-ly nothing until January. You made it through first semester and earned to right to recharge your batteries. That means you get to chill, enjoy the snow, and binge watch everything you didn’t have a chance to during finals. That’s what winter break is all about, right? Yep it is. I ask you to consider that winter break is also an opportunity to push yourself forward a little.
Depending on your school, you have 3-4 weeks to regroup before spring semester starts. I want you to chill, I do. Once you’ve done some of that, you can make the most of your time away from campus. I have three suggestions for spending your time to move things forward during the break.
First and foremost, recognize that Fall 2018 is behind you and Spring 2019 is right around the corner. Even if you haven’t taken all your exams, your fall grades are pretty much set. Take stock of your fall GPA, reflect on your actions, embrace the grades you made, and forge ahead. If your grades aren’t the best, you may be insulted by the idea of embracing them. You can’t change them, so own your role in earning them, and make a plan for spring. During the break review your spring schedule, identify any holes in your study strategy, and create a 2019 action plan.
Winter break is also a good time to prepare for summer 2019. In an earlier post, I talked about identifying summer opportunities. More than likely you found one or two that are of interest to you. Now is a great time to update your resume – you’re a bona fide college student now – write/update your personal statement, and apply for those summer opportunities, internships or research programs. Hopefully you requested letters of recommendation prior to the break and the last piece when you return to campus will be sending your transcript.
Lastly, if you don’t do anything else, volunteer over winter break. The holidays are a time for giving and one of the best gifts is that of your time. Whether you read to elementary school students, serve at a rescue mission, play bingo with senior citizens, or participate in a community cleanup, you have something to offer others. When we volunteer it allows us to see things with a new perspective and to experience the joy of helping others. Volunteering at a food bank on distribution day is always humbling for me. It also puts me in a place of gratitude. We need more of that.
While winter break is a wonderful time for winter breaking, it’s also a wonderful time to do more – for yourself and others. Enjoy the time away from campus and regroup so you can return with renewed energy and perspective. Participate in all the winter activities you've been looking forward to since fall. Chill. Do a little. Then chill some more. Your spirit and your community will thank you.