Five tasks for every productive student this break

From the Reporter archive

Can you believe the fall 2015 semester is nearly completed? Visions of sleeping in, Christmas cookies, and a long month off are certainly creeping into the minds of stress-filled students here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. But before you write off your whole winter break as a time for ‘personal reflection,’ consider these five things every productive college student should accomplish over break.

1. Apply for internships and scholarships

Although it may be tempting to shut your computer down for good and not dream of visiting for a good month, resist the urge! The winter break is a perfect time to search for a summer job or internship. In fact, many internships and job applications have a deadline sometime before January. The break will also allow you to kindly request any letters of recommendation from people who may have been to busy to do so during the semester.

If you are having trouble finding internships, consider using,, and

Along with internships come scholarships, and winter break is an excellent time to apply. Taking the time to ready your application over break will ensure the best quality of your work, done relatively stress free. Searching at for scholarships within your field could end up saving you a couple hundred dollars come next fall.

2. Organize for next semester

I know, I know. The end of a semester usually heralds the time of the burning of the notebooks, not the christening of new ones. But as the days drag on during break, you may find that going to the store to get some folders and eggnog may be alright. Stock up on new folders, notebooks, pens, and any other supplies that have dwindled away or disappeared altogether over the long semester.

Over break, you should also review your course schedule at the e-services site. If you are dying to get into a class, keep an eye on the course every day; you may be surprised to find that a seat might open up. Sending an email to the course instructor could also secure your spot.

3. Update that old résumé. Yes, I’m talking to you.

It’s surprising how easily the good old résumé can be forgotten. I recently dragged mine out from the digital cobwebs in my “Job Items” folder. Needless to say, nannying is not my most recent job activity anymore.

Your résumé is important, so give it a revamp over the chilly winter days. Make sure you consider all of the volunteer hours you have done, as well as any new references you may have attained over this sociable semester.

4. Start your apartment search

Your living situation is very important. While you are relishing in the fact that you have a working dishwasher, take note of all of the amenities you want your next apartment, duplex, or house to have. Search to find a neat and tidy list of apartments available in the Mankato area.

If you are looking to renew your lease, contact your current apartment branch and see if you can receive any discounts for renewing. Before you sign, also consider your bank account. If you love your current apartment but are lacking in funds, you may need to reconsider where you live.

Of course, you can’t have an apartment without roommates! Over the break, consider new roommates and ask current ones what their plans are for the next semester. This will prevent a nervous breakdown towards the end of the spring semester if your friends were thinking of living elsewhere for quite some time.

5. Take time to relax

Lastly (and certainly the most important in my opinion), please relax this break! From what I’ve heard from students, this semester has taken its toll. According to, “Fifty percent [of students] report daytime sleepiness and seventy percent attain insufficient sleep.” Use this time during winter break to renew your zapped energy by getting at least seven-nine hours of sleep per night. You’ll be surprised how much more energy you will have with a full night’s rest.

I would also recommend taking one day to treat yourself over the break. Whether you go get a manicure or stay home and watch football all day, taking one whole day to do what you want (with no guilt from the lack of productivity!) can help you reboot for the spring of 2016.
So go ahead! Don’t hesitate to be productive during your vacation. You may find it was the most important thing you did all break.

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