10 Things To Do Over Winter Break

With winter break in full swing, parties and family gatherings are over and being productive becomes the last thing on our brains. Winter break is a great time to catch up on sleep or watch Dexter reruns, but you definitely shouldn’t waste it lounging in your PJ’s all day! Take advantage of this break from school and stress and get some things done that you usually have no time for. Use some of these ideas to make sure this winter break is the best you’ve had.

1. Read a Book

Your classes this semester may have gotten you burned out on reading for a while, but reading for fun is a lot different than reading for fear of failing the next pop quiz. Check out the bestsellers list in the paper each week, or see what book-turned-movie is coming out this year and read away! Borrowing books from your local library or downloading them on your e-reader will save you cash. Reading something new may give you a new outlook on life, and it will at least give you something to talk about at your next social gathering!  Why not read The Hunger Games, the hit book and now movie franchise!

2. Have a New Friend Visit

You know all those friends you’ve made at college and are now missing? Well stop missing them and pick up the phone! Having friends from college visit you at home allows them to get to know your family and see where you call home. It’s a great time to form a stronger bond with that friend, and a great time to catch up with a friend you’ve been missing.  Just make sure to clear it with your family first!

3. Make a scrapbook

You may have hundreds of pictures from your years of high school and college, and while Facebook is a great place to show off your pics, having a scrapbook filled with those memories will last much longer than the tagged photos. “Scrapbooks are time consuming, but so much fun. Winter break is the perfect time to make one, since college students are so busy during the school year,” said Elizabeth Wagmeister, HC’s UCSB Campus Correspondent. Take a trip to a craft store, gather some supplies and get creative. Grab a sibling or your mom and have them join in on the fun! Printing out pictures is super easy with photo services at stores like CVS and Walgreens. You simply upload your pictures to the site, pick and edit the ones you want and pick them up at the store a few hours later.

4. Take a class

Class may be the last thing on your mind during winter break, but learning a new skill like cake decorating or painting may be just the thing you need to get your brain ready for spring semester. Check at local craft stores or studios to see what classes they offer, get some pals together and become the next Cake Boss (or Picasso!).

5. Make some money

Being a broke college student gets a little old, and while you may have your parents’ fridge full of food now, that comfort won’t be there once you head back to school. See if you can get hired back on at your summer job or ask around about neighbors who need a babysitter. This HC article gives some great tips on ways to make money before heading back to school. There is bound to be a hidden opportunity for cash if you just go look for it!

6. Have a spa day with mom

Or grandma, sister, aunt, whoever! Getting to chill with a strong woman in your life over a mani/pedi is not only good for your cuticles, but it’s also good for your soul. Not to sound corny, but getting advice from, venting to and laughing with a woman who influences you is something you don’t get to do every day. So take advantage of your time off to spend some time with your favorite leading lady.

7. Volunteer

Though the holiday season is almost over, local charities need help year-round. Seek out a charity that does work you’re passionate about, and look into volunteering for them. Just a few hours will not only be rewarding for you, but it can also make a huge difference for that charity. As always, there’s strength in numbers, so make a bigger difference by gathering up some friends or neighbors to help the cause, too!

8. Learn to cook

If you haven’t already figured this out, cooking is a life skill that everyone needs, unless you want to stick to Lean Cuisines for the rest of your life. Take advantage of your parents’ well-stocked kitchen and get the cook in your family to show you a few things. Learn to make something you love, and learn how to make a new dish that you can try out on your friends back at school. Knowing how to cook will not only make your tummy happier, but it’ll also save you money by buying groceries instead of fast food.

9. Get a head start on summer

Whether you’re planning to intern in the summer or hope to find a summer job, looking ahead while you have some free time can be a great advantage when the time to apply rolls around. Get your cover letters in order, make sure your resume is up-to-date, and do some research on companies you’d like to work for! Also check out internship websites like Intern Queen and HC’s own Careerette Pages to find some listings you can already apply for. Also, check out this HC article for more ways to get a head start on summer internships during winter break.

10. Give your room a makeover

Maybe spending countless hours on Pinterest during finals will finally pay off! Get some ideas together for how to arrange your furniture, paint over that wallpaper that’s been around since you were 7, and make full use of the space you have. Completely making over a room can be time-consuming, so make sure you have the time to commit before you head back to school! If you don’t have time for a complete makeover, try just getting (or creating) new art for the walls or turning your bed into the canopy bed you’ve always wanted!

Whatever you decide to do over winter break, make sure you spend some time making yourself happy. Through stress from school, work and life in general, you can get worn down. Use winter break to recharge and get ready for the semester ahead!