8 Things To Do During Your College Winter Break

Job Shadowning

Rest is important. However, there’s a middle ground between binge-watching Netflix for three weeks straight and working yourself to death with 16-hour days. You don’t want to set a pace you can’t maintain because that’s just paving the path to burnout. Yet, you don’t want to waste time, either. You want to find useful, productive things to do during your college winter break.

Whether you’re considering a career in insurance or any other industry, you’re working towards a long-term goal. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about saving for retirement or training to become an Olympic gymnast; the earlier you start, the easier it will be. Procrastinating usually just makes things harder.

he good news is that there are dozens of things to do during winter break to ensure you stay productive.. From getting a jump-start on your career to getting ahead in academics, winter break can be a great opportunity for you to get ahead. The bad news is that it can be hard to stay motivated when you don’t know what to do during your time away from the classroom.

With a little guidance and the right resources, you can take concrete steps and plan things to do over the holidays or Christmas break. You’ll still want to take plenty of time to relax and refresh, but that doesn’t mean you have to pump the brakes on being proactive about furthering your goals.

Review Last Semester and Plan Next Semester

How did you do last semester? Apart from a quick glance at your final grades, you probably haven’t had too much time to reflect on this question. Yet, with a little self-reflection during your college winter break, you might find your current minor isn’t working for you, or that you should spend more time studying.

Even if you’re satisfied with your grades, there’s always room for improvement. For example, you may be able to develop a better balance between your school responsibilities, work responsibilities, and personal life. These adjustments can be made mindfully if you take the time to assess your successes and failures.

When deciding what to during winter break, it also doesn’t hurt to start planning your next semester, budgeting your time for internships, work study, and other projects after you’ve scheduled your course load. 

Update Your Resume, Cover Letter and Portfolio

Nobody does their best work at the last second. With a little bit of luck, you can frantically rush a small project together and come away with something moderately acceptable. However, for bigger projects -- like a resume --  you need ample time to prepare. For anyone planning to apply for jobs or internships during the spring semester, winter break is the perfect time to do something like plan your resume and cover letter.

Considering a career in insurance? Check out MyPath’s guide on optimizing your resume to land a risk management and insurance job.

Even if you don’t plan on applying for a job just yet, it’s not uncommon for employers (and coworkers) to look-up job applicants online, especially if you plan to network on social media. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to LinkedIn, your social media presence should reflect a certain level of professionalism. That doesn’t mean you have to remove every amusing cat meme you’ve ever posted, but you’ll want to prune content that might not be beneficial to your professional image. Sharpening your professional image across all digital platforms where you have presence is a great thing to do during college winter break.

After your resume and social media pages have been updated, if you’ve still got some time on your hands, you might want to consider developing a professional portfolio. You don’t have to work in visual design or copywriting to make great use of a portfolio, and you don’t need an expansive career history to start setting one up. Even launching a blog about something you enjoy can be worthwhile, especially if written communication or the blog’s subject matter is relevant to your career path.

Apply for Scholarships and Grants

It takes mere seconds to search for and find thousands of scholarships online. With scarcely more time, you can check out campus resources for local scholarship information. You’ll find scholarships are available for artists, scholastic achievement, essay writing, and countless others opportunities. Winter break can be a great opportunity to apply for scholarships and cut down on the cost of your education.

Apply for Internships

If you’ve updated your resume and cover letter, cleaned your social media pages, have started preparing a budding portfolio, your next step in deciding what to do during winter break is clear: take a swing at prospective internships.

One of the most common reasons graduates struggle to get jobs is because they lack work experience. Without job experience, your resume feels as thin as the paper it’s printed on. And when you’re competing against countless other hopefuls with almost identical experience, even a six-month internship can be a giant advantage. Getting an internship can help you hit the ground running after graduation and become more attractive to companies after graduation.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a highly underrated thing to do for college students during winter break. It can help you build skill-based experience on your resume that goes beyond that of coursework. While earning valuable references for your resume, you can strengthen old skills or learn new ones. And in the process of helping yourself, you’ll end up helping others. As with so many things in life, even a couple hours of volunteering every week can contribute to substantial career progress over time.

Go on Informational Interviews

Getting a great job, whether you’re considering a career in insurance or any other industry, can be made easier by knowing the right people. Ostensibly, conducting an informational interview is about learning more about your prospective career path. However, the greatest value of going on informational interviews lies within actually making an industry connection.

Asking strangers for a favor can be a daunting task, but informational interviews can pay off in the long run and can be a concrete step in any career. Make use of your cleaned-up social media profiles to research alumni in your field. Reaching out to these people and making it your mission to grab coffee and chat with them at a convenient time is the perfect thing to do during winter break if you’re trying to get a ahead of the job search. Find common ground with them, build your professional network during winter break and you may find yourself learning even more than you would in the classroom!

Shadow Professionals

Internships aren’t always available for college students during winter break. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a closer look at the jobs that pique your interest. As with informational interviews, shadowing someone on the job can be a great way to get an insight into their work while building relationships with the people doing that work.

Shadowing people in your field may provide you with an almost immediate sense of whether or not a career path might suit you. Sometimes our intuitions are wrong and sometimes our dream career is something we would’ve never thought of on our own.

Take A Class

Finally, you can always continue your education. Large universities and community colleges alike often offer courses during college winter break. Getting ahead on your education or sharpening job skills may be only one course away -- and it might be a course you’d otherwise never make time for.

And of course, this winter break, don’t forget to relax. Take time to unwind so you can enter next semester feeling refreshed and ready to learn. However, even a couple hours of extra effort each week can create significant progress towards developing a prospective career. And the sooner you start, the easier it will be.

Read through this list and still deciding what to do during your winter break? Take MyPath’s Career Planning Wizard Quiz to see if a career insurance is right for you!