Balancing Work and Play Over Winter Break

0102152129b (2)Winter break, the shining beacon of hope at the end of a busy and eventful Fall semester! As we revel in the home-cooked meals and comfort of our loved ones, there are often still responsibilities, task, or assignments looming at the back of our mind. If you go to a school like mine where Fall semester finals don’t take place until after winter break, you’re especially burdened with a need to study hanging on your back. This presents us with a challenge: how are we to stay productive over break?

Being productive doesn’t mean you have to throw away all plans of fun and relaxation for the break. Taking a step back from the hectic life of the past semester is a good and necessary thing. Beyond that, though, keeping in mind the things you might hope to accomplish over break will help you feel even more content with your time-off from school.

To make your break both fun and productive, I like to set reasonable goals for myself and then go about crossing them off my list. Maybe for you, there’s a book you’ve been dying to read but didn’t have time for during classes, or some material you’d like to brush up on from the past semester that you’ll need fresh in your mind for an upcoming class. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to visit your old high school to talk to students about your college experience, or volunteer somewhere for the holiday season. If you have exams coming up, as I do, you can map out the studying you have to do for each test, and spread out the work over your break. With Organic Chemistry, Neuroscience, and Evolutionary Biology exams coming up, there’s a lot of material to cover, so I like to sprinkle in a bit of studying here and there during my weeks off to prevent the bulk of my studying from piling up on me. Throughout your break, the smaller progress you’ve made here and there will add up!

Having goals in mind for the break are a way to keep your stamina going and help you feel accomplished with the time you’ve spent away from school, in addition to all the lovely relaxation you’ll have achieved. I personally like to spend a few afternoons during break at a coffee shop to study for a bit, taking only a few hours out of the day every so often. This way, I don’t miss out on much of my precious family and friend time, and still manage to get a reasonable amount of work done, (while also getting to sip on delicious coffee, yum). While it may seem like a drag to get things done over break, trust me when I say it’s a great feeling to know you got what you sought to accomplish out of the way. If anything, now when someone asks what you did over your break, you’ll have a few more things to add on to your story!

Victoria Navarro, Quest Scholar, Princeton ’17