Written by Alyssa Walker

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Here you are in the throes of the holiday season -- and the end of a semester. How should you approach this busy yet joyous time? Jump right in and have some fun, too. 

It's not all studying and cramming for finals -- or obsessive shopping and gift wrapping. It's time to rest and recharge -- and prepare a bit for your upcoming semester. As with everything in life, try to take a balanced approach.

Here are six ways college students should approach the holidays.

1. Apply for scholarships and internships

Now is the time -- apply now! You don't have to spend your whole break on this, but spend a few hours on applications. Keep a focused search and have at it.

Internship applications require a good resume and cover letter, too. Now's a good time to spend on revamping that resume, cover letter, and personal statement. Get stuff ready to go for when you need it.

Need some guidance? Talk to your financial aid and career services offices before the break begins and make a plan.

2. Plan next semester

No time like the present. Get a jump on next semester's game plan now so you don't have to think about it when your break ends. 

Set some goals and put them into two categories: performance and process.

For example, a performance goal states what you plan to achieve, like "get an A in history next semester."

Process goals focus on actions, like "read and outline a chapter ahead every week for my history course."

3. Spend time with family 

Get some family lovin'. They love you. You love them. They probably miss you, too, and you more than likely miss them. You don't need to plan to enjoy family time. Make hot cocoa with marshmallows. Hang out and make a shared meal or go out for one. Watch a movie. Even better, go see a movie -- some of the best ones of the year come out right now! Go for a walk. Go bowling. Listen to music. Help out with the family chores. Talk. Listen. Have a good time.

4. Exercise

Make an attempt to improve your overall physical health. Start small. Get enough sleep. Eat right. If you don't have a regular exercise plan already, make one. Go for a short walk. Hop on a bike instead of jumping in the car. 

Or try something daring. Ice skating. Cross-country skiing. The pole vault. Go nuts!

Don't find sports interesting? Do something outdoorsy that you wouldn't normally do: kite flying, ice fishing, snowshoeing. It all counts and it's all fun!

5. Watch movies

While going to the movies is fun, there's nothing quite like firing up Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon and having a good old-fashioned binge watch. During the semester, you might not have a ton of time to watch a bunch of shows or movies. So, now you have a bit of relaxation time, snuggle up, pop a big bowl of popcorn, and settle in. 

6. Catch up with childhood friends

Haven't seen your friends since you left for school? Make plans before you leave campus and get together to catch, perhaps share different university experiences. Invite them for a coffee, to embark on your new exercise plan, watch a movie, or just hang out. 

ArticleEducationStudent Tips
Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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