The hidden opportunities of winter break

How PRSSA-UD members can make the most of UD’s two-month winter break

BY: VICTORIA DELLACAVA

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As all college students know, winter break means getting to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family. This much-anticipated breather between semesters is what gets most of us through finals week. While most schools get a few weeks off, University of Delaware students are off for almost two full months – which can be considered either a blessing or a curse depending on who you’re talking to.

 

Though there are many benefits to taking a break, and winter break is a great time to wind down after a hectic semester, sitting around for two whole months is bound to make anyone restless. Some UD students acquire internships and/or part time jobs to keep them busy over these long two months, but that’s not the only way to stay productive over winter break. Here are a few tips on how to having a productive and efficient winter break, in order to stay sharp and start the spring semester and the new year off on the right foot.

Organize your space

After packing up your belongings at school before coming home, must of us usually notice some shirts, sweater and scarves that we no longer wear. Take this time while you’re unpacking and setting your space up for the winter and donate things that are taking up space. Not only does this help you de-clutter your space but help those in need as well.

 

Volunteer in your community

You don’t need to have a formal internship or job in order to get out of the house and do something productive. By spending time volunteering – whether with an animal shelter, soup kitchen, women’s shelter, library etc. – you’re keeping yourself busy while giving back to your community. Most charities and nonprofits see an influx of volunteers during the holiday season, so continuing to volunteer into January and February can do even more good.

 

Revamp your resume/LinkedIn

This is something I always say I’m going to do during the semester and rarely have the time for. Taking this break to rework your resume and LinkedIn profile can help give you a leg-up when before you send your next round of applications.

 

Apply for internships/jobs

With your updated resume and LinkedIn profile, you’re in an even better position to start applying for internships (or jobs for all my fellow 2017 grads). Whether it’s for the spring semester, summer break or post-grad, this is the perfect opportunity to set aside some time to research companies and start getting your application materials together.

 

Go on informational interviews

Since you’ll be home well after the holidays, winter break is a great opportunity to reach out to some of your professional contacts and set up informational interviews. This is a great chance to learn more about a specific industry or company that you’re interested in and get some great tips before applying for your next job or internship.

Write a blog

Whether you already have a blog, have been thinking about starting one or want to write for someone else’s, you now have all the time in the world to do so! Not only does this keep your writing sharp during your time away from school but also adds more writing samples to your repertoire. Most employers will ask for a writing sample with your application, so better to write it now than when you’re swamped with papers, test, projects, extracurriculars and other applications during the semester.

 

Put together a online portfolio

If you really want to set yourself apart from other internship or job applicants, an online portfolio can help concisely highlight your work and accomplishments while showing employers that you’re not afraid to put in a little extra effort to make yourself stand out. Since putting an online portfolio together can be time consuming, winter break is a great time to start.

 

Get ready for next semester

Getting all of those monotonous new-semester prep tasks out of the way – like ordering your textbooks, picking up your school supplies and figuring out your gym schedule – will make going back to school in February that much more enjoyable.  

 

Take time for yourself

A difficult semester can take a lot out of you, and this new downtime should definitely be used to to take time for yourself. Whether it’s reading for pleasure, spending time with friends and family, reading the newspaper over a cup of coffee, trying out a new fitness class, going on weekend trips to new places, doing yoga every morning or spending time at your favorite hometown coffee shop, make sure that you’re doing things that make you happy and help you unwind.

 

You don’t need to have a strict school schedule to feel like you’re being productive. Creating good habits over winter break will that you can carry into the next semester will help you feel more prepared for the semester to come.

 

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Bio: Victoria is a New York-native senior interpersonal communication major with minors in public policy, leadership and advertising. She serves on the PRSSA-UD executive board as vice president of professional development, head of PRSSA-UD’s Outreach Committee and social media editor at The Review. To connect with her, follow her on twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or meet her for coffee at Brew HaHa! (chances are she’s there right now).

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