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How to Make the Most of Winter Break

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Princeton chapter.

That’s it! The semester is over, save for finals, and we can all take a deep breath of relief. So congratulations, Princetoniennes, you made it! Whether this is your first winter break of your Princeton career or your last, here are some tips on how to make the most of this interval between Week 12 and Reading Period.

Take a few days off!

First and foremost, you should dedicate some time to yourself after all the hard work you put into this semester. Whether that is by treating yourself to a manicure or watching an entire season of your favorite show in one sitting, find a way to relax and de-stress. The last few weeks have been hard, and your body needs to recuperate from everything you’ve demanded of it. So sleep in and don’t feel guilty about it… you deserve it!

Figure out a game plan

Hopefully you have already begun thinking about Dean’s Date and Finals Week, but if not, fear not! Winter Break is the perfect time to gather your bearings and figure out how the heck you’re going to tackle all the work you still have ahead of you. Use a semester calendar to visualize what you need to do and by when. It can also help to set your own deadlines. For example, if you have three Dean’s Date papers, try to get at least two drafts of them done by the time you come back to campus. Also, don’t forget to sign up for a Writing Center appointment! They fill up fast before Dean’s Date, so make sure you’ve got one if you need it.

Stick to that game plan

Sometimes you can make an awesome 3-week plan, but you have a hard time sticking to it. That’s why it’s important to make SMART Goals, or goals that you know you can accomplish in a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely manner. To get motivated, try setting aside a block of time each day to dedicate to studying. If you’re like me and have trouble concentrating at home, check out these study strategies that really do help in overall productivity in the long run. If you really need some motivation, ask a friend to keep you accountable to do work over break. Chances are you’re not the only one who needs to get stuff accomplished.

Catch up on life

Regardless on whether or not you still have a bit of work to do in the weeks leading up to Reading Period, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! Winter Break is just that—a break from the craziness of Princeton life, so treat it that way! There’s no need to be up late studying until the wee hours of the morning. Take advantage of being surrounded by family and friends whom you haven’t seen in a while; they’ll definitely appreciate your attention. Plus, if you dedicate more days to catching up with family and friends rather than studying, don’t fret: that’s what Reading Period’s for anyway, right? Have a great break!

Katrina is a philosophy major at Princeton University with minors in Arabic and Near Eastern Studies. She recently studied abroad at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, but is back and ready to rock her senior year! Apart from academic advising, she's really into foreign relations, so check out her writing over at International Relations Online and the Princeton Progressive Nation.
Ajibike Lapite is a member of Princeton University’s Class of 2014. When not studying, Ajibike tutors at the Young Scholar’s Institute in Trenton, NJ; serves as the President  of the Princeton Premedical Society; is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Princeton; currently holds the title of Most Stylish Undergraduate (from Stylitics). Ajibike is a  molecular biology major with a certificate in global health & policy. She enjoys consumption of vanilla ice cream and sweet tea, watching games of criquet, exploring libraries, lusting after Blair Waldorf’s wardrobe, watching far too much television, editing her novel, staying watch at the mailbox, playing tennis and golf in imitation of the pros, hanging out with the best friends she’s ever had, baking cookies that aren’t always awesome, being Novak Djokovic’s fan girl, and sleeping—whenever and wherever she can.