The end of the fall semester marks the beginning of winter break, a perfect time to relax and de-stress after finishing out grueling finals and turning in massive research papers. While it’s certainly good to recuperate from your classes while you can, you may want to consider doing something other than sleeping in ’til noon and stuffing your face during your winter break.
One of the best uses of your free time is volunteering. One particular organization that specializes in volunteering over the holidays is the Holiday Project. This nonprofit group has chapters all over the nation that organize volunteers to visit individuals who are confined to various institutions, such as nursing homes, hospitals , assisted living facilities and even prisons and psychiatric institutions during the holidays. You can find out if there is a chapter near you by visiting the Holiday Project’s website.
Another good place to look online for local volunteer opportunities is Volunteer Match, an organization dedicated to matching able-bodied volunteers to the appropriate nonprofit organization in their area who could use their help. From here you can find opportunities like mentoring, preparing meals at homeless shelters and delivering holiday meals to homebound individuals.
If you want to disappear for a short time and do some service work out of the country, you can seek out a group that organizes alternative breaks during the holidays. One of such groups is Cross-Cultural Solutions, an organization that can help students volunteer or even take part in an internship abroad during your winter break. Some colleges and universities have student groups that organize their own alternative winter breaks here and abroad, such as Vanderbilt University’s Alternative Winter Break. You can also find out if any student organizations on your campus are planning on doing any volunteer projects during the break.
Not all of us have the luxury of being able to work for free during the holidays. The good news is the holiday break is the perfect time to expand your working hours at your current job temporarily, get a seasonal job if you aren’t employed, or do some temporary seasonal work alongside your current job for some extra cash. No one likes to work on Christmas Day, but if you do, you can end up earning time and half or double time for your trouble, depending on your employer.
Finally, now that you are free from the stress of finals, devote yourself to re-forming good habits like exercising regularly, eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep. January’s classes will be here before you know it and you will want to be at 100 percent when that time comes.