Unlike summer breaks, winter breaks tend to be short, crisp and yes, a great time to enhance your productivity for the upcoming year! Being brief, it is difficult to get internships during a winter break, but they are advantageous to college students in a whole different way.
This winter break you have the opportunity to catch your breath. After a whole year of college, this is the time to plan ahead and get yourself going for the coming year. It is the time to relax, be with family and do the things you missed out during the hectic last months of the semester.
In this article, I will take you through some things that you can do to make the most of your winter break. It is the time to shine, get ahead of your planning and achieve the best you can in the upcoming semester.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on products we have recommended. For more information look at the disclosure policy
1. Set Up a 6 Month Goal
This is the perfect time of the year to set up your 6-month goal in advance. You can reflect upon your past year and see what it is you need to accomplish. It can be something as small as reading a book or getting that grade you missed out.
Here is a quick method you can try to get ahead of yourself:
- Get a pen and paper and note down all the things you think you would like to accomplish when it comes to university and career
- I have created a small list of items you can use to brainstorm these ideas. Just send in your email address at the bottom of the post to get access to my free resource library.
- Once you are done with brainstorming ideas, it is now time to put a time stamp on it. Out of the ones you have jotted down, put down the time needed to complete each.
- After that, depending on the time frame, prioritize the ones you need to finish first and there you go! You have your 6-month goal ahead of you. All that is now required is for you to plan it out step by step,
If you are looking for ways to plan out your goal, you can have a look at how to plan your college year. This will give you a good perspective on how you can set your goal straight.
2. Start College Applications
If you are in your final year of university, this is an extremely crucial time for you especially if you are looking for graduate studies.
For college applications, it is best to start early around October. However, if you have still not spent a lot of time on applications, the winter break is the perfect time for you to work on your statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and college applications.
It is important to go through each application separately as many times they differ from each other.
I will be releasing a detailed blog post on college applications soon. In the meantime, I have welcomed students to send in their college essays to me via if they would like me to have a look and suggest changes all for FREE!
Having applied to various universities across the globe myself over the past year and a half, I have a good idea of what to put in college applications. There is a particular way of approaching your SoP and essays. Some need to be 2 pages but then compressing that into one page needs a whole lot of effort and analysis. Starting early can help you achieve that.
3. Study for GMAT, GRE, TOEFL or any competitive exam
One thing to know about these tests is that their scores last for 2 to 5 years depending on the type of test. This means, that if you are in your junior year or 3rd year of college this is to get started.
Most students during summer breaks go for internships, but as it is difficult to get internships during winter (because it is just lesser than a month-long) this is the perfect time to get ahead of your scores.
These tests usually require more than single attempts (unless you are a super genius). So you should utilize your winter break and start prepping for these test scores.
If you feel that you are too early into the mix, you can start up with increasing your vocabulary if you plan on taking GMAT or GRE One great place to prepare for these exams and the one I had readily used to get a score of 114 in TOEFL was Magoosh. They have great tools and apps (most of which is free) which you can use to get ahead of your TOEFL vocabulary.
4. Look for Summer Internships
I know, I have mentioned many times throughout the article that getting an internship during winter break is a tad bit difficult. However, that does not mean that getting started with the summer is a bad idea.
The winter break is the perfect time to get started with applications to summer internships. These are some of the different types of internships you can look towards:
- Internship Abroad:
If you are applying for programs abroad, it is highly likely that the applications have begun. You can start with the essays and all the application materials required
- A Research Internship:
If you want to apply for a research internship, this is the time to start looking for professors and starting with the emails.
I have covered a step by step approach to applying for a research internship in an article. If you’re not that keen on going through another article you can have a look at the video I made on the same.
- Internship in a Company:
Getting an internship at a company takes time and effort. If this is what you want to pursue, the winter break is the best time to start off with setting up your LinkedIn profile is you have not already! (If you haven’t you are missing out on a lot of opportunities)
You can also set up your resume, which is the most important part of the process. If you have no clue what it is or how to do it, you can go through the article where I write all about setting up your CV along with a free template on my FREE RESOURCES page.
This is accessible to all those who sign up to the list down below (at the end of the page).
5. Catch up with School this Winter Break
Now, this is important to many students. College can be hectic and there might be a lot of things which you were not able to grasp in the short 4 month semester. I know for sure that during undergrad when I had to take 6 subjects a semester, getting a hang of them was difficult.
So, this is the time for you to catch up with some of the unfinished tasks. You need not spend day and night with books, but you can maybe take up a subject and spend an hour or two each day revising.
It is better to pick a subject you know that you will be using in the future courses. You can also work on the project that you had taken up earlier (if there is any) and finish it up. You could also study ahead; some courses that you will be taking up in the following semester.
6. Create a Budget Plan
With the last months of the year, you now have the knowledge and time to create a budget for the upcoming semester. Many people think that creating a budget can be a bit of an issue, however, if you know the right way of doing it, you’ll definitely stay on top of your finances.
I recently created a budget for myself. After going through a crazy number of apps, software and websites, I felt sticking to excel would be the best method. Honestly, there are very less good budget-making apps dedicated to college students.
These are some tips to stay ahead of your finances:
- Divide your finances into three categories:
a. Need – Items you cannot stay without such as rent, college fees, groceries, student loans etc
b. Want – Items that you want but necessarily don’t need
c. Savings – This is divided into three categories. The amount that you save for emergency, for an item for the future and the extra savings.
You can follow the 50/30/20 option as suggested by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. It basically is that you use up 50% for your needs, 30% for your wants and save 20%. However, this can change as per your requirements.
- Once you divide, see how much percent of the money you spend and save and try to follow the 50/30/20 rule as much as you can.
- As a student, having a student loan is inevitable for many. However, you can get out of the debt if you stick to this budget.
- Don’t put a lot of money in your checking account and keep just what is required of you. In that way, you won’t make any unnecessary expenditures!
7. Take a Short Course
This winter break, take a short course. There are so many great online sites which provide quality content taught by professors from renowned universities. These websites offer certificates at nominal amounts or courses that you can audit.
Websites like edX , coursera , NPTEL etc are great resources for short courses. You can go through the article online course sites every college student should check.
The short course you select can be almost anything, however, I would suggest that you keep it relevant to your career. Something that will help you enhance your skills in a productive way forward.
8. Join a Group in your University
At the start of the year, there are many clubs and societies that all of us sign for. But at the end of the day, when the orientations are over we let them sleep in our inboxes.
The winter holiday can be the perfect opportunity to know more about these groups. Try contacting them either via their social media page or via email. Get to know more about technical groups or societies in your niche.
Joining, a club also looks good on your resume. It helps build leadership skills, people skills etc. So go ahead! Join the one you always wanted to be a part of.
9. Catch you Breath
Now last, but not the least; catch a break! The Christmas holidays is the time to be with loved ones and enjoy the small things in life. You should use this time to reset and rejuvenate for the coming year.
Take some time to relax and lay back a bit. Read the book you had been missing out. Fulfil some of your new year resolutions that you had set the previous year and most importantly create some ‘me time’ to know yourself better!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I have tried to jot down the most important aspects of a students life and some of the things I did during my undergraduation.
Keeping up with university can be bit of a challenge. But this is the time to really shine through and complete whatever is left of your goals. Of course, you should relax and enjoy some hot chocolate on the side. But you shouldn’t forget your main aim.
The fact that everyone is telling you that life will be better after uni is probably not that right. It will be better if you pave the way for it to go as you wish. Planning ahead is the key to being as productive as you can be!
If you liked the article and if it helped you in any way please do share it with your family and friends. Subscribe to my email list to get access to a whole lot of free resources like cover letters, CV templates and much more!
Have a great day!
Some related posts in technical me section are:
5 Online Course Sites Every College Student Should Check Out
21 Ultimate on a Budget Planner and College Supplies
11 Cutest Bullet Journal DIY to Boost Planner Organisation (With Freebies)