Take a Break From Your Studies, Not Your Mind: Just a Word of Advice During Winter Break

It’s about that time now. That time when classes are ending for the semester, final projects are being finished and for some reason everyone is in just a better mood. Yes, it is the time you’re thinking of. What time is that? The time for Winter Break!

For a lot of you it’s either here or it’s going to be coming really soon. Which is completely amazing and awesome and pretty much everything good. Finally, we all get a real break from classes, annoying teachers, tedious schoolwork. Oh yeah, and we can sleep again. Always good.

My main point here is that there is no school for a whole month!

BUT, this does not mean that you should let your mind go to mush just because there is no homework to do. Remember, there is going to be a second semester of this school year and odds are, you’re probably going to have to take very similar classes next semester to the ones you took during this one.

For many of you, depending on your major, you need to know particular computer programs, equations, instructions, tips etc. You’ve come to college to learn and gain certain abilities that you didn’t have before. You don’t want to lose them by pushing them to the back of your mind for a month! I’m telling you, it’ll take you way too long to find them again.

Here’s my story

Of course, we all know that it’s just a month away from school, so you’re probably thinking “What? If I don’t think about using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator for a month, I won’t forget how to use them!” All I can say is that…you’re wrong.

That’s what I thought during my freshman year winter break, and you know what? I did forget how to use those programs. I just got so excited for winter break and was just determined not to do any work. So, I didn’t. I mean, not anything. At all.

A very silly thing for me to do.

When I came back to school for second semester, I was expected to pick up those programs again like I had been using them several hours a day, every day, on winter break. I was so surprised by how quickly we were expected to get back into the swing of things.

To those who are freshman or who are about to go into college, do not ever expect teachers to go easy on you, even when you’ve only just got back to school. You know why? Because it’s college! Do not forget that. When people say that college is difficult, they really mean it.

I wish I had that mindset when I went back to school that second semester because with my lack of using any programs needed for my major, I forgot how to do so many skills and felt very lost for those first few weeks.

Don’t do that to yourself! It’s not fun, trust me.

Now, I’m not saying don’t take a break at all. It’s winter break and of course you should spend as much time relaxing as you can. You deserve it.

However, you should still spend some time now and again using programs or practicing the different skills needed for your major at school. Get as used to them as much as you can because you’re probably going to continue to use them throughout your time at college. You’re probably going to use them out in the real world as well. You don’t want to seem like you have mediocre skills by the time you’re looking for a real job just because you felt lazy on your breaks. You want to look totally awesome and impressive by that time! Yes, I know you’re nodding!

Plus, if you’re in the right major, you won’t mind using these skills or practicing your other needed abilities so much. It should be quite enjoyable to you. This is your chance to experiment with these skills. Create or do something your teachers would never let you do at school or do something you’ve always wanted to try with them. Perhaps there was something you did in school that you want to do again? Do that!

Even goof around with those studies just for a good laugh. At least they’re still playing in your mind.

If you really don’t want to practice these studies over the break, if you’ve really had enough for a while that’s okay too. Do other things to stimulate your mind. Read a book, play chess, scrabble, trivial pursuit, watch a list of classic films, read the newspaper, write and keep a journal, work on your resume and cover letter. Anything! Just keep your mind busy and awake!

To conclude, totally take a break from school and give your head a rest. See friends, family, go on amazing adventures and enjoy your vacations. Just don’t let your mind sleep for too much of that time. When you want to come back to use it again, it’s going to take a while to wake it back up. Then you’ll find that all those days you spent being lazy just wasn’t worth it.

Anyway, please heed what I say and I bid you all a great end of the first semester and a mostly carefree and relaxing holiday!

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Nina Reichenberg, a junior at Syracuse University spent her first two years in the Communications Design Program but is now currently working towards a degree in Computer Art & Animation. Whilst at school, Nina spends most of her time animating, watching films, and working as a design intern at SYR BAZAAR.com. Outside of SU, she enjoys traveling, singing, dancing, spending time outside and collecting thimbles.

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