How to Be Productive Over Winter Break

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Your last assignment has been turned in, your last test has been taken, and your last live lesson has ended. That can only mean one thing: winter break has arrived! It’s time to spend quality time with family and friends, celebrating the holidays and decompressing from the semester. While it can be easy to forego responsibilities and resort to spending hours in front of the TV or computer, consider some different ways to be productive over winter break:

Finish college applications

For high school seniors, winter break is the last bit of free time you have before college applications are due between January 1 and February 1, depending on the deadline for each individual college. While it may seem like a drag, getting all the last minute details out of the way and sending your application off before the deadline will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy the rest of your vacation stress-free. For students in lower grades, winter break is a great stretch of time to start looking through college brochures, researching colleges online, or even spending some time looking through PSAT/SAT prep books.


This time of year always incites a feeling of giving, which means there’s no better time to donate to your community. There are plenty of ways to volunteer over the holidays, whether it’s serving food at a soup kitchen, taking care of animals at a shelter, or collecting donations for a charitable organization. Websites like Volunteer Match make it easy to find opportunities in your area, but don’t be afraid to ask around to see if there are any smaller organizations that are looking for an extra hand. Additionally, for students who are applying to, or starting to think about college, volunteer work looks great on your application and helps you stand out as a dedicated community member.  

Read a book

When was the last time you read for leisure? It can be tough to sneak a ‘fun book’ into your schedule during the school year when you have textbook material to consume and novels you have to read and analyze. Winter break is the perfect opportunity to finally start that book you’ve been meaning to read but didn’t have time for. If you’re not sure what book to read, try looking at a list of popular movies and TV shows that have been adapted from books and find one that aligns with your interests.

Get a head start on the spring semester

You don’t want to wake up the day before the new semester starts and realize you haven’t done anything to prepare. Use the last few days of break to get any materials you’ll need, such as notebooks, pens, or even a new computer to make sure you’re all set for your online courses. It also doesn’t hurt to check out your school calendar to see what’s coming up for the second half of the year. You’ll feel better entering the new semester knowing you’re fully prepared.

Having a productive winter break will make you feel more accomplished when January rolls around. But don’t worry—if you binge watch a Netflix show or two in between getting things done, we won’t tell.