The winter season has started, which means it’s school break time! This year has redefined college life (and life in general) and students are constantly wanting to wake up to everything already back to the way they were–but the possibility of it seems to be far-fetched. Surely, the new normal that the pandemic has brought about may have taken its toll on you. And when thinking about your winter break, you may have planned to get some much-needed R&R. It is something you deserve, anyway, after overcoming the hurdles of this semester and school year!
To say that colleges and their students have had their fair share of the pandemic-driven challenges is an understatement! Without warning, the education system found itself plunged into online learning alternatives amid the prolonged campus closures. Some schools have not released any decisions as to when they can resume the on-site learning. Students have coped up with taking their classes online, in the comforts of their homes.
Now that you’re off school for a few weeks, the next big question is, how do you spend your winter break in a pandemic that is drastically changing the way we live?
Many activities, events, gatherings, and celebrations are being canceled, restricted, or limited. This time is historically a first for everyone, so it could be extra challenging to plan your winter break and make it enjoyable and positively memorable!
While giving yourself some time off is a must during your winter break, you should maximize and take advantage of the extra time that you have, especially in the unusual situation we have right now! We have compiled a list of helpful recommendations on how to make your winter break as fun and as productive as can be:
- Spend quality time with your loved ones.
- Prepare for scholarship and internship applications.
- Read books that may not be academic.
- Stay physically active and exercise.
- Prepare your bucket list for the upcoming year.
- Get in touch with your inner self.
- Structure and prepare your resume.
- Embrace a new and better you.
1. Spend quality time with your loved ones.
Have you been heftily busy during the semester and haven’t even spent some time with your family? Then it’s the best chance to make up for the lost time. This might be the most common and essential way to spend your school break. It’s the perfect time to be merry with your family. The holiday season brings forth a particular mood to create fun memories with your loved ones.
No matter what kind of activities you wish to do, no time is wasted for sure as long as you are all together. Don’t let the current situation hold you back from creating new and fresh memories. You can still enjoy many indoor alternative activities that are safe for everyone. Here are some family activities ideas:
Have a movie marathon.
Movie-watching with the “ohana” could be fun, even though you might have done it many times before. Find new and exciting films and plan an afternoon or evening movie marathon. Make sure all the family members love the genre, prepare some popcorn and sodas, and enjoy being couch potatoes for a while. You might not notice, but you desperately need such activity as well.
Bake or cook together.
An article released by CNBC shows the #quarantinebaking trend due to the corona pandemic, and this activity has somehow helped some families cope with personal stress. This time around, during your school break, bake and cook together, and enjoy the time and your family’s company.
Go on a hike.
Wherever it is safe for you and your family to take a stroll, go. It could be around your neighborhood, a nearby park, or in the high mountains; enjoy this physical activity with your loved ones. You have more than enough time at your disposal, so go for this activity that benefits you physically and enriches your soul as you spend time with those you care about.
Have a spa day at home.
Relaxing your overly tight muscles could be downright possible through having a spa day at home. Since going to hotel and resort spas could still be unsafe and risky, opting for a homemade spa is a safer and economical choice. Enjoy a foot soak, body scrub, do your nails, and even have hair treatments together. Males and boys in the family can take advantage of this pampering event too!
Connect with Distant Family Members.
When you cannot celebrate the holidays with your loved ones as you are accustomed to, the holidays take on a new meaning. As infection rates in communities rise, many households are intending to remain socially distant this holiday season.
You can involve grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in your holiday celebrations even if you can’t be physically close to them this season. To digitally invite the family into your house, use Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or another video calling software. On Christmas morning, Grandma and Grandpa can still watch the kids open their presents. It won’t be the same, but it’ll suffice to keep everyone secure.
2. Prepare for scholarship and internship applications.
The winter break gives you that time to plan or revisit your plans for scholarship and internship. You may start applying for some, even though you don’t need to obsess on completing it all for now. You can balance your time and organize your things to do for your scholarship or internship application.
The Federal Student Aid can provide you with much information to move forward with your scholarship. Make use of this time to check out updated resources featuring scholarship opportunities, and browse and research through the many chances of landing the best program.
As for your internship, take some time during your break to do your research on the best internship program for you. Reflect on the importance of an internship, and mentally prepare for it!
3. Read books that may not be academic.
It’s OK to take a rest from reading your academic and schoolbooks. It’s equally vital to feed your literary bank with other genres and exciting stories. It sure is personally satisfying and productive to enjoy indulging in fictional tales and narratives once in a while. If you’re a bookworm, yet you’ve been swamped with too many projects and assignments during the semester, then this is the best time to read the books you’ve been yearning for finally.
Hit the library and rent some books. Or you can browse Book Lender for unlimited rental of paperback books. Going for digital resources has been the most useful way recently, so check on Open Library for more books to borrow and read.
Delve into your literary imaginations and use this time to relax while having a good book to read.
4. Stay physically active and exercise.
This tip is a no-brainer since this should be done even during school days or whenever you have the chance to do so. Don’t take the benefits of regular physical activity for granted! Weight gain during the COVID-19 situation has been a phenomenon recently, and there is nothing and no one else to blame but ourselves. The restrictions and limitations of activities and places to go to are not enough valid reasons for us to continue living unhealthily. Thus, it is vital to check and set some health goals.
Although the winter break pertains to more binge-eating and family gatherings, it’s all about self-discipline. Here are some ways for you to maintain or lose weight during the school break:
Watch what you eat.
This may sound cliché, but it has to be said and done. There are too many available delicious food and snacks at home, and it would be difficult to resist them. It’s fair to have a bite or two, but you should stick to the right portions. Remind yourself to be in control of your body and mind. Feed your body with the right kinds of food, and you can reap the rewards long-term.
Weigh yourself regularly.
Nothing worries us more than seeing our weight escalate. This is why, during the holiday break, it is smart to weigh regularly. You can monitor how your body is changing and plan on how to prevent gaining weight. When we are conscious of our body weight, we become hyper-aware of what we must and must not eat.
Get enough sleep.
There is a high possibility of sleep deprivation during the winter break, simply because you want to spend more time with your friends or family. You compromise on sleep, but this will lead to weight gain. Lacking sleep will make you hungry always, according to Healthline. Hunger hormone levels are increased, which also triggers a higher calorie intake. So stay smart and healthy, and take sufficient sleep every day.
5. Prepare your bucket list for the upcoming year.
What better time to prepare your goals for the next year than the winter holidays, right? Even if you’re not the planner type of person, creating a bucket list for the next year is just super fun and exciting. It will make you stay positive and look forward to what lies ahead shortly. List down all the things you’d like to achieve and set action plans on how to do them.
Make the most out of your college journey, and surprise yourself by doing something new and different from your routine. Here are some fresh ideas to help you get started with your college bucket list:
Make it to the Dean’s List at least in one semester.
If you’re the intellectual kind of student, you may already have checked this on your college bucket list. But if you haven’t yet, explore this goal and try achieving it before you finish college. It should be a fulfilling accomplishment that is worth remembering. You will enrich your passion for your studies as well as build your academic confidence.
Take part in school organizations or extra-curricular activities.
Socializing with friends and classmates is not the only way to expand your connections and circle. Join a school group or club, and jump out of your comfort zone. It’s time to do something beyond your capabilities. If you haven’t tried dancing classes, singing, acting, or painting, try some of them and experience it at least in your youthful years.
Volunteer to lead a group project.
Unveil the leadership skills in you by volunteering to lead your team for your group assignment or project. If you have intimidation against being a leader or voicing your ideas and opinions, then break free from that barrier that holds you down. Stop being a follower for once in your life and take on your team’s project as a leader. You will discover more about yourself and your capabilities as you continue to lead your classmates.
Learn a foreign language.
Nobody would argue that English is the universal language globally, but knowing another language won’t hurt. It is, in fact, helpful in real-life situations. As you join the corporate world in the future, your second or third language could come in handy when dealing with people from all walks of life. Although learning a foreign language could be challenging, you know it will be worth it.
6. Get in touch with your inner self.
Too much workload and full schedules sure distracted you from doing any severe and life-worthy reflections. An article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows the relationship between self-reflection and academic performance. Reflection journal writing has been an effective method for self-reflection. Professionals and mentors believe that students’ academic performance is based on the lessons they learn and reflect on.
Not only limited to educational reflections for learning, getting in touch with your inner being lifts up your soul as a whole. That is why it is essential to take some time to feed our soul and let it rest from life’s rush and toxicity. Take your free time during the winter break to reflect on your soul and to love yourself. Even when things don’t go exactly as planned, forgive yourself and continue to stay positive. You owe yourself a pep talk that everything will always work out for the best.
If you even can afford some time to write in a soul journal, it would even be better. Like writing a personal diary, a soul journal allows you to dive into your emotions, check your life in general, and face your struggles and emotional issues. Writing on your soul journal is said to be good for your mental health, according to npr.org (National Public Radio).
7. Structure and prepare your resume.
When you have enough time in your hands, spend it wisely and productively. Another way to do so is to create a well-structured resume. If your part-time job in high school or summer jobs did not require you to submit a resume, then you might have no experience on how to write one. Ease your way through as your first resume does not need to be perfect. Start learning how to write the best summary so you can prepare for your internship or part-time job. As you know more about it, you can continue to edit and redo your resume from time to time.
Here are some helpful tips to give your resume a boost:
Simplicity is key.
Make sure that your resume is simple yet straightforward. Employers usually can’t afford much time to read your resume, so they typically skim and linger on the necessary information that is important for them. Make your resume concise and readable.
Use a well-organized format or resume style.
Each section of the resume should be simple yet organized and complete with enough information. Summary and experience descriptions should be short and direct to the point. Employers base their hiring decisions and assess whether you’re an excellent fit for the job offer through your resume.
Include the most relevant and emphasize the most critical information first.
Some studies show that a typical hiring manager only spends an average of 6 seconds going over a resume. So, make sure that your resume includes key information, and eliminate those that are no longer useful and irrelevant to the job requirement and position offered.
Use a professional font and be mindful of using appropriate margins.
Content may be the essential factor for your resume, but it does not mean that the other minor details should be ignored. Use a font letter and size that seem professional and formal. One-inch margin size for all sides and using single spaces for each line are used as the standard format. Make sure that your resume is clean and professional-looking.
Proofread and edit before printing.
Do you have a trusted family member or friend who can go over your resume for final editing and proofreading? It is best that your work is checked before printing it for final submission. It may be littered with typographical and grammar issues that are a no-no in employment applications.
All these tips will help you land a good job after graduation or even during college. You can refer to some samples provided by Indeed and learn more about several industries’ different templates.
8. Embrace a new and better you!
The winter holidays entail a new year approaching. The year 2020 went by drastically; we couldn’t wait to start the next one already! Although changes have already begun even during the early months of this year, you might have some other fresh concepts and ideas to apply for your new year. Plan them out during your school break. Whether you want a unique physical look like cutting your hair, changing your hair color, changing your clothing styles, or revamping your room: any change is healthy for your nurture and growth.
Embrace new changes in your life. Learn to reflect and think of the recent changes you like to adapt and apply for the coming new year. Don’t settle for a new year’s resolution that you might not be able to follow through. Create a plan to change, not because it’s a new year, but because you want to become a better person, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.