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The Daily Illini

Winter break can be a productive time

A photo of Foellinger Auditorium in the snow on Dec. 4.
A photo of Foellinger Auditorium in the snow on Dec. 4.

A photo of Foellinger Auditorium in the snow on Dec. 4.

Austin Yattoni

Austin Yattoni

A photo of Foellinger Auditorium in the snow on Dec. 4.

Rabia Ilyas, Staff writer

When the last finals and projects are over, it may be tempting for students to turn their brains off and spend the four weeks of winter break in a Netflix-induced stupor. However, there are many ways to enjoy break and the holiday season while still staying productive.

Many students opt to take a crash course during break that they otherwise do not have room for in their schedule. Not only are the class requirements manageable, but they are also online so you can still be at home. A huge benefit of this is that it can free up your schedule for a later semester and put you on track for graduating on time or early.

Volunteering over the holiday season is another great opportunity that students can take advantage of. The holiday season is a great time to help those less fortunate than you, and if you do not have enough time during the school year to volunteer, this is the perfect time to lend a hand to your community. Soup kitchens are a popular place to volunteer, and there are a lot of charity events where you can donate your extra clothes and unneeded items.

A lot of students talk about interning at a company or place that is associated with a potential career. While this is great for your resume and may look wonderful for those seeking jobs, securing internships is difficult and rejection is possible. If you are not able to find an internship before break, a smart move to make is to job shadow a professional in your desired field.

In fact, this is something I hope to do because I’d like to see a different perspective of my potential career. I’ve heard from many students that shadowing can be very valuable and insightful. Also, if you only wanted that internship for your resume, keep in mind that shadowing a professional in a field looks good, too.

Speaking about careers, you may want to brush up on those cover letters and resumes over break. Even if you do not need to send your resume to someone in the near future, it’s always good to update it in case a professor asks for it. I know when I was looking for a research position this past semester, many professors would require a cover letter and a resume to be attached to the application.

I was one of those unprepared students that was literally writing my cover letter and brushing up on my freshman year resume the night before the deadline. It’s definitely more stressful when you’re rushing to update your resume while trying to sound professional.

If none of these above options work for you, planning ahead is always a smart move. Buying books for your spring semester schedule so you have a head start when you get back to school will save you so much stress.

Another thing that many students don’t think of doing over break is a thorough analysis of their past semester. I don’t mean that you need to agonize over the question you missed on the final, but recognizing your mistakes and accomplishments can lead to a more successful future semester.

Winter break is a great time to go home, sleep in and eat food that someone else has cooked for you, but remember that four weeks is a long time and there are many productive ways to spend that free time.

Rabia is a junior in LAS.

rilyas2@dailyillini.com

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