How to Make the Most of Your Winter Break—Academically and Personally

Here are some things to do in winter.

Flickr user Patrick

Most college students are preparing to enter winter break, if they’re not enjoying it already. No matter what college you go to, you’ve had a challenging semester. Winter break can provide some much-needed respite from the classroom grind, but it is also a useful time to get prepped for the upcoming semester. Here are a few ways to make sure that the time you have off for the season and the holidays don’t go to waste.

 Read Ahead

If you have a challenging course upcoming next semester, winter break is the perfect time to get ahead. Find reading that is the same year by year. If you have the syllabus already, you’ll know exactly what you have coming up. When you’re in the thick of a packed academic schedule, it can be difficult to get everything you need to out of required readings. Get ahead by reading a challenging book during the holiday break. Even if you just cover a few core concepts, this will make it much easier to comprehend this material when crunch time hits a few weeks or months in the future. If you manage to read an entire book, that’s just one more thing off your plate next semester.

Work Off Your Loans

If you have academic loans, it’s important to pay these off whenever possible. Having student loans that hang over your head for decades is a terrible thing to endure. During the holidays, lots of businesses hire temporary workers to take on the rush. If you are able to pick up a few shifts while you are home for the holidays, you may be able to knock a chunk out of your student loans. It may not be the most restful way to spend your break, but it is a great way to prepare for your post-graduation life, when you may wish that your student loans were a little less.


At the end of the day, finding time to relax during the holidays may be one of your best uses of time. Catch up on sleep, watch a movie you’ve been waiting around to see, hang out with some old friends, do nothing. Constant mental and physical strain that often accompanies college can take its toll on your body and mind. If you don’t take time to release this strain, you may experience diminishing returns in the classroom. If the first two items in this list don’t seem like the best thing to do, don’t underestimate the benefits of rest and relaxation during a holiday break.

The winter break can be a great opportunity for many things you’ve been waiting around to accomplish. Whether you choose to work hard, pursue a hobby, or just hang out during your break, there are ways to use this time intentionally and profitably. Free time is at a premium in college—make sure you take advantage of it.

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