Yes, winter break should be a break. But while you have a few weeks away from classes and homework, it’s also nice to take advantage of the free time to prepare for the new year and new semester. Here are some things to do in between holiday parties and family time to make the most of your winter break.
Read a book
I have always enjoyed reading, but found it challenging to finish a book given my hectic schedule while classes are in session. Winter break, then, is the perfect time to start (and finish) a book that has been on the to-read list. Even better? Read a book – either fiction or nonfiction – that can be a conversation starter. Find a book on a subject you enjoy but also introduces something you didn’t know before, that you can talk about in an interview or conversation. (Interested in finance? Here’s a list of books that every finance student should aim to read.)
Write down some personal goals
New Year resolutions may seem frivolous, but the process of writing down some goals is actually quite beneficial in itself. Research has shown that goal-setting – when done well – can increase productivity and allow you to achieve more. Make sure that your goals are feasible, clear, and measurable. (Get more tips.) I personally like to maintain a balance by separating my goals into categories, choosing one each for academics, relationships, and personal.
Update your resume
After a semester of hard work, it’s important to make sure your resume is up to date with your latest activities and achievements. As you gain more experience, it may be time to delete some of your old activities and expand on your more recent positions. Be sure to describe every experience in a way that reflects your efforts and highlights measurable results.
Submit an application (or two)
If you’re still in the internship or job application process, winter break is a great time to really focus on refining your cover letters and submitting some applications. Set a goal of submitting one application every week or so, so that you can head back to campus with the knowledge that you’ve gotten a head start for spring recruiting.
Write some holiday emails
During the holiday season, maintain connections with your mentors, supervisors, and others you’ve met with a quick end-of-the-year check in. Nothing too fancy is needed; just write a quick line or two wishing happy holidays to professional connections, friends, and families. Short emails like this are a great way to stay in touch after networking events.
These tips can be helpful in preparing for the new year, but don’t spend too much time on academic and professional-related work. Winter break and holiday season is time for relaxation and fun. Be sure to take a break (and perhaps do some of the things mentioned above) to start the new year strong!
Siyu Wu is from Colorado and attends Princeton University, pursuing a degree in Economics and certificates in Finance and East Asian Studies. Siyu will graduate in 2018. She hopes to synthesize her interest in China and East Asia with her passion for finance to eventually work in a career related to international finance and Asian capital markets.