A checklist of things to do before and during the break to stay on a productive track.
Before going home
1. Clean out your freezer/fridge and pantry.
Be sure to throw away any and all foods that will spoil while you are away on break. If you have roommates who are staying in your shared living space, consider asking if they would like any of the foods you plan to throw away to prevent unnecessary waste.
2. Clean your bedroom and bathroom
If you plan on going home or on vacation during the holiday break, be sure to clean your bedroom, bathroom, and any shared spaces you are responsible for before you go. Doing this will prevent adding additional stress to your return back to campus and will allow you to be in an organized headspace on the days leading up to the new semester.
3. Take out your trash
One very important yet commonly forgotten task to do before breaks is taking out the trash. Doing this will not only take one task off the list of things to do once you are back, but it will also eliminate the possibility of returning home to an insect and/or mold infestation, not to mention the stench of rotting trash.
4. Do your laundry
Remember to do your laundry the day before you pack for your trip. Taking the time to do this will give you the opportunity to take all of your favorite clothes with you without packing anything dirty in your suitcase. If you are not on an absolute time crunch be sure to put away the items you will not be taking on your trip so that you do not have a pile of clothes to put away after you return.
5. sort through your clothes
If you celebrate any December holiday that makes receiving clothes, shoes, or accessories a possibility, or if you plan to go shopping while on vacation, consider sorting through your clothes. Donate all the items you no longer want and take home the things you won’t need with you between this break and the next one. For instance, on this break, it would be ideal to take home any summer clothes you don’t plan on using during the winter and early spring seasons.
6. Have your car checked if you plan on driving home
Driving for an extended period of time can be risky for multiple reasons so be sure to have your car inspected. If your car has been professionally inspected recently you should still do a quick fluid, wipers and tire pressure check yourself. If it has been a while since your car was inspected by a professional, be sure to take it to a mechanic so that they can make sure your car is safe to drive on a road trip.
While on vacation
1. delete your emails
Another way to prepare for the upcoming semester is by deleting your emails. Take some time to sort through your school inbox and trash any mail that is no longer important to keep for next semester.
2. Deep-clean your car
If you drive home this winter break and have enough downtime, deep-clean the interior and exterior of your car. Doing a productive task like this when you have downtime will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed once your schedule gets busy once again.
3. apply for summer internships
Applications can take a long time to complete and can be very stressful. If you know you are going to be busy in the early months of the upcoming semester, be sure to start and submit internship applications over the break. Although the break is mostly meant for rest, it is often the only time you have to work on things that will prepare you for your future outside of school.
4. Build an ideal schedule for the upcoming semester
To avoid an unorganized start to the semester, consider creating a basic schedule to use when first arriving back on campus. You can add things like your ideal wake-up time for school days, the time that might best for you to exercise, grocery shop, and socialize during the week. To be extra organized, you can check your professors’ syllabi and pencil in all of your assignments, tests, and finals before the semester begins.
5. fix your sleep schedule
Being on vacation can often lead to an inconsistent sleep schedule. To ensure that you do not struggle waking up for classes the first week of school, train yourself to go to sleep and wake up earlier over the break. If you are typically a night owl while on break, try to at least use the last five days of break to fix your sleep schedule.
6. be mindful of your relaxation
To fully soak up the restful time you have off from school, try your best to take a mental note of all the time you relax on break. Things will pick up again soon so take full advantage of relaxing during your time off.
*Bonus* Return and/or sell the textbooks you no longer need for class going into your next semester.