Making the Most of Your Winter Break

Carolina Jacobs

Nov 15, 2021

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It’s finally here. You’ve worked hard throughout the semester and have earned your break. Whether you’re in high school or college, you’re sure to be ready for a break after months of endless homework, quizzes, and tests. Winter break is a great time to relax and unwind while preparing yourself for the upcoming semester. 

3 Ways to Continue Your Learning

Nobody said you have to relax all winter break if you don’t feel like it. You might find that it pays to keep your brain active and focused on learning things, even if you have a break away from your courses.

1. Take Up a New Hobby

You might choose to learn a new language or skill that could benefit you later in life. If you plan to study abroad at any point in your academic career, learning the language of the country you plan to visit could prepare you for some of the situations you’ll encounter.

Furthermore, teaching yourself how to sew or knit could help you fix rips in your clothing, which can be essential during the winter months in a cold area. You can also use those skills to make gifts for people during the spring. In addition to being something productive, hobbies can improve your mental health, which is excellent after a grueling semester.

2. Complete Any Extra Credit

If you’re in high school, you may have left for the break before your final exams. Take this time to study and complete any extra credit that your teachers hand out. You have plenty of time to finish an assignment or two that could help you increase your grade in the class.

If you’re in college, check online to see if any of your future professors have uploaded work for the start of the semester. These assignments might be “getting to know you” exercises that could be worth a grade. While you have some downtime on your break, consider getting this housekeeping paperwork out of the way so you’ll have less to worry about when you return to school.

3. Try Out New Recipes

Being home for the winter means that you have the perfect opportunity to try out new recipes that can keep you well-fed at school. If you have access to an oven or stove at school, prioritize learning recipes you can make using large appliances. If you only have access to a microwave, start learning what you can do with it.

Teaching yourself new recipes can help you invent dishes of your own. You’ll be able to impress friends and guests up at school. If you’re living off-campus next semester, knowing these recipes proves that you’ll be able to take care of yourself. 

3 Ways to Fight Against Burnout

Stress comes easily in school, particularly if you’re juggling multiple challenging classes at once. Since you’re on break, you should use this time to recharge and relax. You can’t avoid stress in the future, but you can do your best to keep it to a minimum during the holidays.

1. Plan a Small Vacation

Your winter break plans may only involve sitting at home and relaxing. While staying at home is a great way to unwind, getting out of your house and finding another place to stay can refresh your mind. Exploring on vacation can inspire you to spend more time in the moment and with your thoughts rather than on your phone, leaving you less connected to your surroundings.

2. Create a Simple Routine

At school, you likely had a morning routine you’d complete before going to class. Now that you’re out of school, you may feel a little lost or stuck in a rut without your typical routine. If you don’t have a seasonal job, consider creating a new pattern to get you out of bed in the morning. Even the simplest habit of getting up and showering can set the mood for your whole day.

3. Declutter Your Space

Clutter may lead to more stress. If messes litter your desk and room, you should clean them up. Find a day on your break when you’re feeling motivated. On that day, get rid of papers you don’t need anymore. You may be able to recycle binders and notebooks you used the previous semester if they’re in good shape.

3 Ways to Prepare for the Semester

As winter break wraps up, you’ll find it easier to adjust to the new semester if you do some planning ahead of time. Putting yourself in the right mindset to prepare for your classes can help you perform better in them.

1. Review Your New Schedule

If you already know your classes for the second semester of the year, you should look over your new schedule. Plan out the routes you’ll take to get to classes, and if you’re in college, plan out when you should leave your dorm or apartment to get there in enough time. 

You can also look your professors up online to get a sense of what other students think of them. Since class changes typically happen at the beginning of the semester, you can plan whether you need to switch or drop a class depending on how highly others have rated the professor.

2. Get Organized

Getting organized can help you plan out your semester while getting your materials ready. Getting organized doesn’t just mean cleaning up your space — it means that you should also gather school supplies and plan out your semester accordingly. 

Buying a planner can help you keep all of your assignments organized in one place. You can easily refer to it before and after your classes and use it to prioritize homework and projects. You should also consider color-coding your notes. By having an easy-to-read key, you can glance at something and know whether you might find it on a test.

3. Look Ahead at Your Syllabi

If you figure out which assignments you need to focus on, you may feel better prepared for the semester when it starts. Going into a course while knowing what you’ll learn can help you better prepare for the pacing of the class. If you have any questions, consider reaching out to the professor — and introducing yourself while you’re at it.

Create Your Ideal Winter Break

The days will pass faster than you realize. Winter break won’t last forever, but how you spend the weeks on holiday can set you up to excel in your second semester. As long as you take time to recharge and relax while continuing to learn and prepare for a successful academic career, you’ll have a winter break for the record books.

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