5 Ways to Be Productive This Winter Break

December is one of the fastest-paced months in the year. Two weeks after Thanksgiving, finals and the holidays barely give us a minute to breathe. The following weeks in January, however, give us plenty of free time and that's not something we're used to. Here are some ideas of what you can do to use that free time productively.

  1. 1. Read for Leisure

    The value of reading for leisure cannot be overstated. It's a practice that gets pushed to the side during the semester because we have so many other assignments and readings demanding our attention. Winter break is the perfect opportunity to pick up a book to unwind rather than binge-watching Scandal again. If you haven't read for leisure in a while or you're confused about what book to read, start with an easily digestible mystery novel or reference GoodReads. Reading over the break will help to increase your reading stamina and keep you sharp for when the spring semester rolls around.

  2. 2. Intensify Your Internship Search

    Many companies and firms begin their internship recruiting process earlier in the fall semester, but plenty of internship opportunities are still wide open at this point. Searching for internships, updating your resume and cover letter and interviewing can be pretty exhausting, especially during the semester when assignments and readings are your priority. Take the time over winter break to search for and apply to internships that interest you.

  3. 3. Learn a New Skill

    In an increasingly competitive professional world, doing anything to differentiate your skill set will benefit you. You can learn a variety of skills on Linkedin Learning or take a class on EdX. However, learning a new skill doesn't have to be oriented toward professional goals. Any form of self-development is worth the time investment. Take this time to learn how to play a new song on the piano or spend a little more time on Duolingo as you promised yourself you would.

  4. 4. Form a New Habit 

    It's not the most original suggestion given that it's the season of New Years resolutions, but really take this time to evaluate what new habits might be beneficial to you this coming year. If you don't have a consistent exercise regimen, then maybe try out new forms of physical activity to see if one sticks. If you incorporate a new practice into your daily routine when you have the time, then it'll be more likely to stick when you go back to school.

  5. 5. Reflect

    In the hectic pace of our lives, it's easy to keep moving forward without taking a moment to see how far we've come. Reflection allows us to celebrate our growth, but it's also a tool we can use to keep ourselves accountable to our former selves. What goals did you set at the beginning of this year? How have you changed and how have you stayed the same? Have you changed in the ways you wanted to?