Elementary school teachers urge parents to encourage reading during Christmas vacation, but older students tend to lounge on the couch rather than hit the books. No one is asking you to memorize your chemistry text between semesters, but there are several things you can do to help keep your academic skills up to par.
While it’s understandable that you’re going to do some much-deserved relaxing, no one wants you to lose your mind over winter break.
Make sure you try one or more of these activities in between movie marathons and hanging out with friends!
1. Write thank you notes. Teens and college students are some of the most tech-savvy folks on the planet, but emails and texts – while they’re undeniably convenient – are contributing to a decline in the written language. Whether or not you celebrate the holidays, there’s a good chance you will receive a gift or experience the kindness of a friend or family member during your winter vacation. Break out a piece of paper or note card and a pen to write then an actual, honest-to-goodness thank you note. You’ll practice your writing skills and make their day.
2. Read for the fun of it. Once upon a time, you actually read books for fun but your hectic college life most likely removed reading for pleasure from your list of regular pastimes. Why not get caught up while classes aren’t in session? Visit the library, head to a bookstore, or download an eBook for your Nook or Kindle.
3. Spend time with your younger relatives or baby-sit. Although non-traditional college students are becoming the norm, you most likely spend your time around people your own age while you’re away at school. Hanging out with a younger sibling or cousin, your niece or nephew, or even a family friend’s child will help you see things from another perspective. You’ll remember how good it feels to have fun laughing, running around or just being goofy. They’ll look up to you and enjoy the time together as much as you will.
4. Get a real life history lesson. Spending time with older relatives can be just as beneficial as hanging out with kids. Ask your grandparents or great aunts and great uncles to recall significant moments in their lives, such as what happened on their wedding day or where they were and what they were doing when a significant national tragedy occurred. It will give you personal insight that you just won’t find in a textbook or movie.
5. Play board games. Even if you consider the Xbox one of the greatest inventions of all time, there’s a lot to be said for old-school board games like checkers, Scrabble, Monopoly, Clue, and Trivial Pursuit. Not only will you get to hang out with friends or family – and do something you probably haven’t done in ages – you’ll keep your mind sharp at the same time.
6. Bake or cook. It’s the perfect time of year for baking and cooking, which are activities that require reading as well as math. Calculating half or double batches of your favorite recipe will involve plenty of fractions, so why not make dinner for mom or bake your neighbors a batch of brownies? (Just don’t do this.)
7. Visit a local museum. Most large museums are located in major cities, but even the smallest of towns usually offer some type of local exhibits. Take a day trip to a museum that’s a few hours away or visit one in your area to see art, view artifacts or learn about history. You don’t need to visit the Louvre or Smithsonian to have a good time and learn.
8. Get a jump start on the new semester. Although the point of winter break is to take a break, it’s still a good idea to be proactive. Before you know it, the holidays will be over and you’ll be heading back to school. At the very least, make sure you’re registered for classes and know which textbooks you’ll need.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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