Academic Tips during the Winter BreakNovember 18, 2016
By Katrina Dunlap
Deadlines for papers loom and final exams are approaching for us all. We’ve marked our calendars for the last day of the fall semester and are looking forward to the winter break—approximately five weeks until the spring semester begins. While it is enticing to stay warm under the covers and binge watch your favorite season of the Walking Dead or Scandal, consider how to use this time that would yield the greatest benefit to you academically. If you are not sure of what to do during this timeframe, consider the following ideas that can keep you engaged with your academic goals and will help you remain mentally thawed.
Spring forward. The typical winter break is anywhere between 5 and 6 weeks. Build in time for family and friends but don’t overindulge and miss your opportunity to work on your field statement or prepare for a challenging course in the spring. Most professors make their syllabi available. So check out the requisites for the course. It is never too early to begin writing towards a 20-page final paper.
Fall back. The break is a good time to reflect on what worked and what did not work during the fall semester. For example, if you found yourself barely meeting the deadlines for course assignments, think about how you would adjust your schedule moving forward. Is there an article or book that you skimmed just to get by in your class that bears some weight on your academic interests? Carve out some time to read for more comprehension and understanding. This will only make you a better student by the next semester.
Summer solstice. Keep track of your deadlines for summer internships, co-ops and fellowships. You can set yourself up with a dynamic opportunity for the summer and years to come if you got accepted into a summer program. In my previous blog on “Tips on Internships and Co-ops,” I discussed the benefits of these programs and the long lasting implications on your career goals. Don’t let the winter pass you by without planning ahead for the next break.
While there are many things that can fill up your days during this time, by no means exclude the important people in your life—a parent wanting to spend some quality time, a child anticipating a game of “hide and go seek,” or a cohort looking to kick back at a happy hour. No matter how you choose to spend your winter break, make it count!
Note: This blog was inspired by an American InterContinental University blog posted on December 14, 2015 http://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/december-2015/winter-break
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