How to Make the Most of Your Winter Break

UVA Career Center – December 9th, 2016

You’d never thought this day would come, but alas, it has arrived. Winter break is finally here! The sweetness that comes with having over a month to take back all that time you’ve lost to pulling all-nighters for various exams and papers is incomparable. However, seeing how winter break is so long, it can be easy to lose track of time and not do all the things that you’ve been meaning to do. In the hopes of avoiding this, here is a suggested to-do list that you can use to make the most of your winter break!

Relax, unwind, and practice self-care.

You’ve no doubt been under a lot of stress this past semester and especially these last couple of weeks. Relish in the freedom of getting to sleep in, catching up on TV shows, hanging out with your loved ones, and whatever else that comes to mind. Get back into those hobbies that you didn’t have much time to do over the semester, like playing guitar, painting, making crafts, etc. This is an excellent way to show yourself some kindness and one of the keys to successfully recharging during break!

Engage in some self-exploration.

While you take this time to unwind, reflect on your values and your interests. This kind of self-awareness is a great quality to have both in terms of your personal development and your professional development. Granted, the latter is probably the least of what you want to think about now, but there will likely be a point in your break where you’ve had your fill of lounging. Should that time comes, consider reviewing Understanding Yourself and Your Options. Also, read one of our Career Peer Educators’ takes on What Every First and Second Year Needs to Know for more to think about.

Do some searching.

Again, research might, understandably, be the last thing you want to hear, but this doesn’t have to be very intensive. After you’ve done some self-reflection, you will have a preliminary idea as to what kinds of career paths or industries that you’d be interested in exploring, so why not take some down time to do some quick Google searches on them and see how they might fit you? Of course, one of the most streamlined ways to search and find the most useful results is to use the career databases that the Career Center subscribes to, like Career Insider by VAULT, which you can find under Career Exploration in the Handshake Resources Library! Of course, if you want a more personable touch to researching, simply talk to local professionals that you may know about their career to get some handy information. See our page on Informational Interviewing for the best way of approaching this.

Put together your materials.

Breaks are a great time to polish up your resume, or even to create one! This isn’t as dry as it sounds. It can actually be a nice way for you to look back on all that you’ve accomplished up until this point, which can be very rewarding in and of itself. If you have no idea where you should begin on crafting your resume, check out How to Start Your Resume. After you’ve completed a draft, or even while you’re still creating one, take a look at some Resume Examples to see the best way you can format your own resume. Once you feel good about what you’ve written, don’t forget to get your resume reviewed during office hours in the spring!

Also, if you haven’t done so yet, why not think about creating a LinkedIn profile? It’s a helpful professional social media tool that you can use to keep up to date with companies and employers you like and connect with others to build your professional network. Read our post on LinkedIn to get started!

Go shopping.

This might sound strange, but since you might have been planning to get some new pieces for your wardrobe, consider buying some professional attire while you’re at it (this applies to girls and guys, of course). Since professional clothes might have a slightly higher price range than everyday attire, purchasing just one or two complete sets should be enough for now. While you might not see this as very necessary now, there may be instances where you’ll need some semi- to business professional clothes for events that you might attend next semester (such as potential interviews, and even the Spring Job and Internship Fair, happening soon after the start of the spring semester on Jan. 31st - Feb. 1st). If you want a refresher on what constitutes professional dress, review our post on how to Dress for Success.

Hopefully this list of items is comprehensive yet manageable enough for you to consider this winter break. But of course, the most important to-do of all is to have fun and make the most of your time off!

Additional Sources

5 Tips for Career Development Success Over Winter Break | University of Oregon

Make the Most of Your Winter Break | Columbia University Center for Career Education

Three Tips for Winter Break | Wake Forest University Office of Personal & Career Development

Career To-Do’s During the Winter Break | Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

The Top 5 Ways to Use Your Winter Break | Education Week