For some college students, the holiday break can be over a month long. Of course, you should find time to relax and rejuvenate for the spring semester while also spending time with family and friends. But there are a few simple things you can do to use at least some of this time productively.
1. Look ahead to the spring semester.
Assuming you aren't graduating yet, consider using some of your time off to prepare for the spring semester. It's a good idea to:
- Get your textbooks now instead of at the last minute
- Review any course syllabi or info you have related to your upcoming course load
- Prepare for the days/times of your class schedule, or think about how you'll tackle your online classes among your other responsibilities
- Consider where you'll stand in terms of credit hours after the spring semester
2. Get advice on your future courses.
If you have family members, friends, or acquaintances who've taken similar coursework within your academic program, talk to them about the types of courses you can expect. Learn how they were successful in such classes, and if they're now working in the field, find out how they got to where they are.
You can do all the research you want on your forthcoming classes, but it's often best to simply talk to others who went to your school or navigated through an equivalent program to get the inside scoop.
3. Research your desired career path.
When it comes to your career goals, it's never too late to start looking ahead. Click over to some of the top job sites like Indeed, Monster, or CareerBuilder, and search for different types of jobs that are of interest to you. Check out the job descriptions, job duties, pay rates, and benefits. See if there are any companies you recognize hiring for positions you'd aspire to have some day.
It's also worth updating your resume, references, and reading about the latest trends in hiring as far as writing a cover letter, interviewing, and other relevant strategies to help make your college degree pay off in the long run.
4. Make your employer aware of your upcoming schedule.
Perhaps you have a full-time or part-time job while you're earning your degree. It's important to make your employer aware of your upcoming course schedule to ensure your supervisor is fully up-to-speed on when you'll be devoting time to your college coursework.
If you are hourly or work different shifts, your manager may be able to schedule you for the best times that won't interfere with your class schedule.
5. Look into scholarship opportunities.
Perhaps you already earned a scholarship for your first year of college. Now that you're in your second or third year, you might be paying the full tuition amount.
Good news – there are scholarship opportunities for college students at almost every level in their academic careers. Take some time over the break to research scholarships you might qualify for to reduce the financial burden. If you find some, consider applying for one or two now.
To learn more about how to find scholarships, check out our scholarship guide for adult learners.
Share Your Experiences
What kinds of things have you accomplished over the holiday break between college semesters? Share your tips and experiences for others in a comment below.