While some people are lucky enough to have minimal exams and get a full 3-4 weeks off of school, others will have a full exam schedule.
The good news is that we all still wind up with at least two weeks of winter break.
If you don’t have any concrete family or friend vacations planned, remember these simple ways to ensure you make the most out of your winter break:
Rest and relaxation
First and foremost, get some beauty sleep. Chances are you have bags under your eyes from last minute cramming and/or travelling back home. Get some quality Zzzs so you’re ready to start your holiday routine and aren’t acting like you just had some bad eggnog.
Remember your routine
Spend time catching up with friends and family but ultimately, if you’ve got a regular plan, stick to it.
Although New Years’ is when people usually make most of their “resolutions” or new routines for the coming year, if you already have a fitness regimen or regular schedule, be sure to work that into your days at home. Most people expect to gain a little holiday weight but if it can be avoided by sticking to a plan you already follow regularly, you’d be crazy not to do it.
Save your money
Parents, siblings and friends understand what it’s like to be a broke student; for most of them, it’s a “been there, done that” situation. Here are some ways to make the most of your (probably) dwindling cash supply:
Save money travelling home by checking out student discounts on rental cars, train or bus rides and even some airfare. Most schools have negotiated deals with various transportation companies and get discounts on top of their usual deals for their students. Alternatively, carpooling has always been a sure-fire way to save time, energy and money.
Don’t go big on social gatherings by trading extravagant dining into lots of coffee dates. Even at Starbucks, a big cup of coffee should never run you more than $3.00. Skip the social lunches and brunches that often rack up an unexpectedly large tab, and invite your friends out for a cup of java instead. Your body is probably used to all the caffeine from late night cram sessions anyways. This way, you get a warm and inviting environment to chat and catch up, plus a warm beverage, minus the huge bill!
Use Netflix for movie nights. Instead of spending $20+ on movies and snacks, get a Netflix account (chances are one of your friends has one) and have everyone bring a variety of snacks. After all, that’s what your parent’s basements are for, right?
As for the gift-giving, a Secret Santa amongst groups of friends is usually the best way to save money. Put a spending cap on the present and everyone in the group gets one nice, personal present instead of scraping together change to buy tiny gifts for a bunch of people.
Find a summer job
Summer positions are certainly filled quickly and the cut-off for most jobs is mid-January to early February, but the earlier you start looking, the more options you’ll have.
Schedule a day or two, or 1-2 hours per day if you prefer spreading it out, to job hunting and sending out resumes and cover letters. Be sure to put some thought into this process and only apply to jobs you really want – your enthusiasm will translate into your application.
What if the company you want to work for has no information on internships or summer positions? Give them a call! Reaching out to a company and displayed an interest in the business is a great way to find a hidden opportunity. You’ll never know the jobs you can get if you don’t ask about them.
Winter break is called a “break” for a reason. It gives your brain time off of the busy scholastic life and gives you a breather until the next semester begins. Make sure you take advantage of this and have some time to yourself. Sure, holiday shopping and all the celebrations can be stressful, but certainly make time for yourself to get some R&R before you wind up in the library again.