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Winter Break Alternatives for College Students

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The stress of studying for final exams is rearing its ugly head, but try to relax because there is a light at the end of the tunnel! That’s right, winter break is almost here and it will be tough to decide what to do with all that free time … or will it?

A lot of college students will do little more than visit their family, hang out with old friends and sleep til noon every day just because they can, but others have planned some winter break alternatives. Continue reading and see if any of these suggestions sound appealing!

#1 Get a Job

The thought of punching a time card during your college winter break might not sound like the most fun in the world, but taking on a job during your vacation will help fatten your bank account. You might not enjoy standing behind a cash register or waiting tables and dealing with crabby customers during the holiday rush, but you’ll definitely be glad that you earned some extra cash once you’re back at school.

Even if you take on a part-time job during winter break, you’ll still have time to relax because you won’t have to worry about homework or studying. It’s usually fairly easy to find part-time seasonal work during winter break thanks to the holidays. You might have to settle for minimum wage, but hey, money’s money, right? Besides, if you get a job in your home town during winter break, you might be able to snag it again when you go home for the summer!

#2 Volunteer

Alternative spring breaks have gained popularity in recent years, but volunteering during winter break is just as helpful!

Samantha Giacobozzi, programs director for Break Away, an alternative-break resource that represents more than 140 participating colleges, told USA Today that of the 1,430 winter, spring, summer and weekend alternative breaks in 2009, about 140 were during winter break..

You don’t have to fly across the world to help make a difference. You can volunteer at shelters, schools, community centers and a whole lot of other places right in your own neighborhood. Your college should also be able to provide you with information about organizations that are in need of volunteers during winter break.

#3 Winter Internships

The job market is tough right now and some college students are willing to try anything to stand out from the rest, even if it means giving up their winter break. Internships are often year-long or semester-long assignments, but shorter winter internships still provide the ability to learn and gain real on-the-job experience.

Applying for unpaid internships is different than applying for regular jobs, and you might have to take matters into your own hands and outright ask companies if they’re willing to accept an intern during winter break. You never know, it might lead to a career opportunity down the road.

#4 Winter Intersession Classes

If you want to get ahead, you’re in need of credits that you won’t have time to earn during the regular school year or you’re just incredibly motivated, some colleges and universities offer winter intersession classes.

Some required classes fill up quickly during the fall and spring semesters. If you’re in the area, why not get them out of the way during your winter break? Winter intersession classes are accelerated just like summer classes, which means you’ll do a lot more work in a shorter period of time. It can be pretty stressful, but you’ll also complete a class in just a few short weeks.

Enjoy Your Winter Break!

Whether you decide to take advantage of one of our winter break alternatives or just lounge around the house, be sure to enjoy your winter break. Most importantly, be safe! We want everyone to start the spring semester on a good note.

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Melissa Rhone+

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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Lindsay Strongin almost 7 years ago Lindsay Strongin


I would like to find out about taking summer classes at Valley College or Pierce for credit. I am currently a student at USC (via scholarships and grants). I have been told I will need something like a syllabus of classes that USC and Valley College would have to approve so I can get the appropriate class and credit for the course. Do you know anything about this and if not, would you please direct me to the person/phone number and/or e-mail address who would have this information. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Jeryl Strongin for Lindsay Strongin