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Maximizing your Winter Break

College winter breaks are long, but it is easy to get distracted and let the time rush by without accomplishing much. As winter break approaches, you should start to think about what you may want to achieve over the holiday. This list should allow for balance and includes ideas for building on social, academic, and career-oriented objectives.


Self Assessment

Take some time to reflect on your fall semester/quarter and recognize what went well and where you could have improved. Think about your study skills and how you utilized your time. Did you study enough to get the needed grades? Did you prioritize assignments appropriately? Did you take too many units, or could you take more next semester? How was your mental health?

Plan Ahead

Look into your next semester’s courses and find students that have taken them before. Ask them for tips on studying and anything you should know about the professors/assignments. Go through the courses you have taken and the ones you need to still take for your major/minor requirements. Make sure you are on track to graduate with the correct number of units and courses that will best prepare you for your future career. Many elective courses for majors have different prerequisites, so double-check that you have courses planned out in the correct order for future semesters.


Go through last semester’s notes, study guides, and textbooks. Condense these into the most crucial information and make sure you keep it for future reference (many times, even after graduating, I have looked back at my old class notes). The books that you don’t think you’ll need again should be sold, and you should start looking to purchase your next semester’s books.



Update your resume with the new activities, jobs, or internships that you partook in throughout the last semester. Remove older, unrelated activities or information that may not pertain to your new endeavors. (I suggest keeping the old resume files just in case!)


Begin researching what you will do this coming summer. Whether a job, an internship, or a research project, you should have a plan. Many companies will already be accepting applications for summer internships, and you should find one that coincides with your values and interests.


Living Situation

Start thinking about your living situation for the next school year. Figure out which friends you’d be willing to live with and where you’re interested in living. College town housing options fill up quickly, so make sure you have backup plans and have discussed best and worst housing options with your potential housemates.

Old Friends

You’ve probably made a ton of new friends at college, but you want to make sure you keep in touch with the people from high school. Reach out and see if your holiday break overlaps with hometown friends. Plan a fun weekend to relax and discuss the events of the past few months.

Mental/Physical Health

Lastly, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Recover from the stress of finals by planning fun activities or days to relax and spend time with family. If your health wasn’t a priority this past semester, make a plan and start making your health your number one priority.


Your winter break should be fun, but you can also be proactive by planning your academics, career, and personal needs. This will help take the load off your shoulders when school starts back up for the spring semester. By utilizing your time wisely, you can accomplish more than you think during your break at home.