As time races forward toward the coming semester, my winter session dreams begin to dwindle. No longer am I able to brag that my possibilities are draped out like clothes on a line, just waiting to be experienced over winter session. Now mother hen is calling us back in for the “serious” stuff…classes. Oh yeah…and graduation.
As I ponder the eight months of winter session I’ve experienced during my four years at UD (yes, you read that right), I fall back into that all-too-familiar notion that I hope I didn’t waste it, especially because this is probably the last time I’ll ever be able to say I’m on a two month vacation (cue the graduation jitters).
We all know what awaits us when we return to campus: “What did you do over winter session?” You now have exactly 15 seconds to explain how you did NOT waste your time, maybe throw in something meaningful or fun in there, too, so they don’t think you’re boring and just worked the whole time. Want to practice? After the first year of totally getting this wrong, sitting and twirling my thumbs for two months at home, I started to get the hang of this make-the-most-of-your-time thing, and how to look back and remember the highlights.
So here’s my advice.
1) It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Sure, there’s pressure to find that perfect internship that will lead to you getting hired by your dream company in your dream location doing the absolutely most fabulous job ever! But let’s be real, that doesn’t always happen (and that’s okay!). What’s important is that you get out there and obtain some experience. If you did that, give yourselves a big pat on the back. And if not, there’s always next year!
2) No experience will be worthless.
It doesn’t matter if it’s serving at your local restaurant, editing a school paper or interning at the big firm in NYC. If you have an open mind and a creative eagerness to learn, you will always grow. So you spent your winter session taking orders at a bagel shop, well that’s sure communication experience right there! You probably learned how to handle difficult customers, how to please large parties and how to solve problems as they arise. If you can articulate what you learned from your time, then it will be useful. Don’t be shy to use even the oddest experience as just that…experience! It could even help you stand out in a crowd of resumes.
3) Winter Session is never actually wasted.
Though I’d be the first to admit I was not so great at utilizing my time freshman year, I wouldn’t call that time wasted. I learned that breaks are only good for so long. The first few weeks of sleeping late, watching movies and baking constantly were great, but then it faded. I learned that it is important to be working toward something, to have a goal, even if it’s simply trying to make one person smile each day. And finally, I learned that I didn’t want to “waste” winter session ever again – and I haven’t.
4) Don’t forget to have fun.
I know this is valuable time. People are always going to be drilling the fact that it’s prime-time for internships or fellowships or shadowing, blah, blah, blah. Yes, they’re right, but don’t forget: it’s called a BREAK for a reason! We can’t be expected to sit around and work all the time, can we? Take some time for yourself, explore a new place, make some friends, try to positively impact someone’s day – everyday. It just might give you a new outlook on life and help you to understand the world from someone else’s point of view.
So I guess they’re right, I won’t have a two-month break after graduation (unless I don’t find a job…oh boy), but if we each make an effort to experience all that winter session can be, we’ll have incredible experiences and memories to draw back on for the rest of our lives.
By: Rachel Thompson
Rachel Thompson is a senior with a double major in Mass Communications and Political Science and a minor in History. She is also a part of the Honors program. In addition to her involvement in PRSSA-UD, Rachel is a leader in the Baptist Student Ministry on campus. She is currently completing an internship in marketing and public relations with the Ocean Pines Association in Ocean Pines, Maryland.