Now that winter break is over, I’m actually very excited to get back into the school routine. In past winter (and summer) breaks I still tried to get things done even though I didn’t need to. I would try to do my own studying or research on material that I knew would come up in my future classes, go to work, look for new opportunities on campus and apply for them, volunteer, etc. Basically, I was busy whether I was actively in school or on break. But this winter break I decided to just rest- and it was great! I feel that I really needed to just do nothing related to academics because the end of the fall semester was very hectic. I finished up a two-semester capstone project, took the GRE (a three hour long standardized test for graduate school), put together an art portfolio, applied for graduate school, and took all my finals. 

Although not doing anything school-related was a new experience for me, I really valued it because I had time to focus on my family, friends, pets, and myself. I watched a lot of movies with my siblings and parents, we played many board games, and just sat around enjoying each other’s company. This break also gave me time to catch up with friends I hadn’t talked to in a while, whether it was in person, through call, or text. And during my alone time, I practiced hobbies like jewelry making, gardening, and listening to podcasts. This break reminded me that there are many important things outside of my studies that I need to take care of as well.

Another good thing about taking this time to rest is that I came back into school feeling refreshed and more than ready to start. It also helps that the classes I’m taking are very interesting so I would advise you to always make space in your schedule for at least one class that excites you. Then, it won’t feel like too much work. For the most part, the classes I’ve taken are aligned with what I want to learn but it’s also nice to take classes on other topics of interest to expand knowledge and have fun. I decided to take two classes on non-major related topics this last semester and it has helped me get back into school because I’m eager to learn about things I’ve never formally taken a class on but have researched on my own. Hopefully it is also feasible for you to weave some classes of interest throughout your college career! 

While it’s important to focus on your studies and make sure you’re on track for graduation, my advice is to also take advantage of the well deserved breaks. And if it’s possible, try expanding your academics to include fun classes, or student organizations, or whatever else catches your eye that you feel will benefit you, both in the moment and in the long run.