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Six ways to make the most of your break

You’ve watched half the shows on Netflix – really, all six seasons of “Gossip Girl”? – and you’ve already reached the maximum amount of time you can spend around your family without going completely nuts. It’s time for a winter break makeover! No matter what you’re feeling, here’s how to make the most of your remaining days on vacation.

Feeling adventurous?

Visit A Friend

There’s nothing more exciting than meeting up with someone you haven’t seen in a long time, even if a “long time” consists of only two weeks. Organize a meet up with a college friend in your city, their city or somewhere in between. Going to their hometown will give you an excuse to leave the house and explore an entirely new place, even if it’s only for a day.

Give Back

Use your free time for a good cause! Spend your winter break helping those who aren’t as fortunate by volunteering with a soup kitchen, donating presents to a holiday gift drive (many churches participate in these), and cleaning out your old childhood room to give gently used clothes and toys to the Salvation Army or Good Will. The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to give back to your community and score some great karmic points!

Feeling anxious?

Plan Ahead

Nothing puts a restless mind at ease like writing down those incessant to-do lists keeping you up late at night. If you don’t already have one, buy yourself a planner and get a head start on the winter quarter by penciling in important dates and your class schedule. Order your books for the new quarter, and sell back your old ones (Amazon and AbeBooks are great for this). Start house hunting for the next school year since most apartment leases become available toward the end of winter quarter and are highly coveted. You have free time right now. Use it while you have it and you just might save yourself the headache in the future.

Take a Breath

The objective of school vacation is to give students the time to relax and recharge for the upcoming quarter ahead of them. Ask your parents for a spa day as a Christmas gift, read a book you’ve been putting off, or spend a moment visualizing the goals you want to nurture into the coming year. Grades not so hot last quarter? Strategize how you can do better academically whether it’s going to office hours once a week or cutting back from social activities. Money becoming a little tight? Research job opportunities on campus (Mustang Jobs!) or in the local area. A new year means a fresh start at making the most of your four short years in college!

Feeling creative?

Get Crafty

So, you have over 100 pins bookmarked on Pinterest and no actual crafts to show for it? Now’s the perfect moment to make that dip-dyed tank or that coconut hair mask you’ve always wanted to try! Gather up some colorful paper, decorative stickers, and pictures of the past year to make a scrapbook or a memory box filled with mementos that you can show off when school starts or keep as a display in your room.

Have a Party

Everyone loves a white elephant party or a cookie exchange, and it’s a great way to hang out with the friends and family you otherwise don’t spend time with. Buy wine glasses from the dollar store and some inexpensive glitter and paints and have your guests decorate their own creations while they sip on hot chocolate and munch on tasty holiday treats. Who knows, your party could become an annual tradition!

And if all else fails, pop some holiday cookies in the oven, snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket and let the “Gossip Girl” reruns commence!

This post was contributed by Lauren Piraro, a junior journalism major.

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