10 Things to do over Winter Break
- Dec 2, 2016
So now that I have spent the last week in a food coma from Thanksgiving, I am more than excited for winter break that is approaching us soon! But, I can't help but think, now that I will have a few weeks off from school, what can I be doing to stay a competitive pre-professional student? It's all too easy to relax and forget all about your academic and professional school goals over the break, but truly, the breaks in between semesters are when you can really knock out some of those things that have been in the back of your mind since fall semester started. Here are a few ideas of what you can be doing to stay productive this upcoming winter break:
- Sign up to take your entrance exam
I am a junior this year, and will be taking the DAT early on next summer. Over break I'm going to sign up to take the DAT, when I can really sit down and decide a date that would work best for me and my study habits.
- Study for your entrance exam
If you aren't like me, and have already decided when to take the MCAT, or GRE, or whichever entrance exam, start studying for it! Why not? When you are bored during the day, buy yourself a prep book, or take some practice exams and get to it! It is never too early to start studying.
- Update your resume
While you were busy gaining experience this past semester, you added a bunch of things that you can put on your resume! You need to have a place to put all of your accomplishments! It's time to update your resume/CV so that way whenever a job, or internship comes up, you're all ready to send it in! This is the perfect time to do it, since I know for myself, I'm usually bored over break and looking for things to do.
- Draft your personal statement
Ugh, creative writing. I know personally, that it takes me a very long time to get down in words what I am trying to say, and that I'm a perfectionist when it comes to things like this. With the spring semester being no easier than the load I took this fall, this is a great time for me to focus on what I want to address in my writing. Plus, you'll be at home so you know a lot of people will be able to edit it and proofread it for you.
- Put together a folder or packet for your letter writers
If you're going to be applying to professional school next year, you'll have to request letters of recommendation soon after coming back to school in January. You can gather all of the needed materials in one place so that way you can make your writer's life that much easier. After all, they're doing you a huge favor! Some things you need are:
- Current Transcript
- Copy of your admissions essays
- Updated CV/ Resume (See why you should have that ready to go?!)
- Spreadsheet stating the following: Programs you are applying to, contact information for the individual to which the letter is to be sent, and due date of the letter
Over break I usually have so much free time that I don’t know what to do with myself. In that case, I’ll go volunteer! You need to complete a certain amount of hours anyway, so why not do them when you have some free time? This can make volunteering more enjoyable since you are not so stressed out with school. Also, you can volunteer for longer amounts of time than usual since your days will be school-free.
There is no better time to shadow than over break! When I shadow dentists at home during the summer, I find that it is very hard to coordinate a shadowing day when I am attending school in the fall. Some doctors do not work Fridays, and that was my only possible time to shadow. So since you’ll have free days during the week, find a doctor to shadow! You won’t regret it.
- Read a good book
I know that most of the reading I have completed in college has been required of me from professors and certain classes, but I really do enjoy reading for fun. During winter break I’ll usually spend a good amount of time finding a great book at Barne’s and Noble or the library, then spend the rest of break trying to finish it on road trips, during down time, etc. This gives me a break from all of the science related reading I do when at school. You can find some of my suggetions here: Samantha's Book Suggestions.
- Visit with your friends
Often times I find it very hard to balance school, family, friends, working, and everything else that a pre-professional student needs to do! I hate to admit it, but some of my friendships at home are put on the back burner during the year because it’s hard to coordinate a time to hangout and decide if I am going home to visit them, or if they’re coming to East Lansing to visit me. This is a great time to hang out with your friends back home since other colleges are on break at the same time. So get together with your friends, forget about school, and have a blast just like old times!
- Send time with your family
Last, but certainly not least, take this opportunity to spend some time with your family. With the holidays, it is inevitable that you’ll be seeing more of them, but take this time to really enjoy it! I know that me, my mom, and my grandma try to plan a girl’s day during break where we can relax with a massage, or shop together for Christmas gifts.