It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at UMHB.

Residence halls and parking lots stand mostly empty. The sounds of Christmas parties temporarily replace the sounds of lectures. As students head home for the break, it is tempting to turn off your brain for three or four weeks.

While rest (mental and physical) is necessary, making wise choices during the Christmas break can set you up for a great spring semester! Here are some tips on how college students can make their breaks productive.

Review the semester you just finished.

It is important to reflect on the semester you are leaving behind. What went well? What could be better? Maybe a certain study strategy seemed to click halfway through the semester. Make note of that. If any bad habits popped up during the semester, identify some practical steps to eliminate those.

Prepare for the semester ahead.

If you are taking classes in the spring semester, use this time to get a head start on what is to come. Often, professors have made textbook requirements available by this point. Start skimming through the book, especially if you have a reading-heavy course coming up. Your future self will thank you! If you have access to your course syllabus, get a start on organizing your semester.

UMHB Christmas TreeLook for opportunities to shadow in a related field.

While it may be hard to land an official internship during such a short break, shadowing opportunities can give you a great insight into professions that you might find interesting. If you are hoping to have a summer internship after the spring semester wraps up, use this time to research and make contacts.

Make time for the things for which you never seem to have time.

There are many great things you can do to prepare for yourself for your professional future. Now would be a great time to update that resumé. Did you learn any new skills or have any new professional experiences this past semester? For some practical tips on resumé writing, check out UMHB’s Career Services.

Other things that you might consider: Build up your LinkedIn profile or research professional organizations in your field of study.

Stay healthy.

You know that doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off? Now would be a great time to schedule it! Look at exercise plans that might work for you in the new year. Find a better (and healthy) way to manage your stress if that is something you struggled with in the fall. Using the break to find ways to get and/or stay healthy can put you in a great spot to start class in January.

Relax with family and friends.

Your break shouldn’t be all work and no play. Coming into a new semester, it is important to be refreshed and ready for the 15-week road ahead. Spend some time with your family. Younger siblings may have missed you more than you know! Reconnect with high school friends. They may be able to relate to some of the struggles and achievements you’ve had in college.

UMHB is the university of choice for Christian higher education in the Southwest. If you are looking for a place to receive an education for life and an experience of a lifetime, UMHB would be a great fit for you! Check out our website for more information, or stop by any time for a campus visit to learn more!