How To Have An Epic Holiday Break

Ijeoma Nwaogu
12. Thrive IN® - How to Have an Epic Holiday Break

Welcome to Thrive IN™ and greetings from Houston, Texas. This is Dr. IJ, your very own life coach. Thrive IN™ is a life coaching podcast for college students. And believe me, you are in the right place if you’re ready to grow into your greatest self while making the most of your time in college,

This is session number 12. And for the session, I’d like to share some actions for you to consider if you want to make the most of your holiday break. So as you know, the semester is coming to an end. You’ve had a very busy, overwhelming, positive, challenging semester. And now it’s time to wrap things up and take your finals, and then go into holiday break. But are you prepared to make the most of your holiday break? Do you have a plan in place to maximize your time?

Well, if you don’t, that’s totally fine. And that’s what I’m here for—to offer you some tips, some action points to consider as you end this semester. So whew, I mean you made it! Congratulations, you’re at the final end and you’ve worked super hard this semester, right. So as we know, those who work hard deserve to what, play hard and rest hard and reconnect hard. So, I want to talk about ways in which you can go about doing those things that I just mentioned during your holiday break.

So, of course, like I mentioned, you’ve worked really hard. So you need to rest your mind. You need to rest your body so that’s super critical during your holiday break is to rest yourself, get some rest. This is a wonderful time to sleep in and finish your dreams and wake up when you want to and not use your alarm to get up heal your body heal your mind. And part of resting has to do with reflecting. Reflecting on how your semester went. Did you get to achieve some of the goals, some of the aspirations that you had set out for yourself? What were some of your successes? What were some of your challenges? What do you want to improve upon for the next semester? What bad habits are you trying to get rid of?

So as you rest, I also want you to think about what you want to improve upon for the following semester. So not only will you rest hard, you deserve to play hard during the holiday break. Do those activities that you didn’t really get a chance to do over the semester. If you love salsa dancing, if you want to go hiking or whatever the case may be. Make sure you deliberately plan those activities for yourself and your friends to go and enjoy those things. Because life is not just all about studying and working and all those day to day things. You have to create those memories for yourself and with your friends to play and enjoy your life.

Part of playing has to do with tapping into those things that make you curious, those things that make you happy and give you a lot of joy, aka your passions. Tap into your passions. If you didn’t get a chance again to do these things over the semester, this is a perfect time to do it during the holiday break. Tap into those things that you really love to do.

If you are passionate about cooking or graphic design or photography, go back into those spaces and activities and indulge in them. I know you have like a million books on your to read list— those thriller books, romance novels, wonderful opportunity for you to read those books or catch up on your TV shows. I know binge watching is a thing. Catch up on your Grey’s Anatomy or whatever shows that you watch. This is a wonderful time to do just that.

So not only will you rest hard and play hard during the holiday break, I also want you to plan hard. Think about how much money you’re going to need going into the next semester will you have to take up a temporary job during that time to acquire the funds that you need to survive for next semester? This might be a time for you to work. Also think about those textbooks that you really need to sell. Make sure you prepare for that and sell those books and get the money back so you go buy some more books. Also, this is a time to service your vehicle.

If you drive and if you commute back and forth to your institution, make sure you get your vehicle serviced and taken care of because you probably wouldn’t have ample time to do so during next semester. You don’t want to be driving to campus when you have a final exam and then something happens to your vehicle. You want to be as safe guarded as possible when it comes to having a reliable vehicle to get you to and fro your destinations. Also during holiday break, you could use this time to do a deep cleaning of whatever space you’re in.

Your apartment, your residential hall, your family home, donate some of the things that you no longer need. Organize and store and file important documents And keep the things that have sentimental value. And you could just organize them and store them in a safe place. If you need more winter clothes, this is a wonderful time to go shopping and get those coats and long pants or extra socks or whatever you need to stay warm during the winter is something you can do as well.

Another thing you could do is you could learn to cook. Learn to cook some of those foods that you really like. Those healthy meals that you need a little bit more practice in mastering. So use that time to learn your mother’s secret recipe or to learn some of those things that you grew up eating. The things that your parents or your grandparents would make that you really enjoy eating. This is a wonderful time to experiment with the types of foods that you like and to master certain recipes that you know you will revisit often. Another thing you can do over the holiday break is to get certified— learn a new skill. A lot of people get CPR training, or they learn graphic design, whatever peaks your interest. See if you could get certified.

In these days, a lot of companies really admire certifications that has to do with computer software. So check out some certifications that you could get and see what you could work out over the break. You could also research study abroad options to see which country or program you want to participate in to see if it’s fitting to what you’re looking for. The holiday break is a wonderful period for you to gain that ample time you need to do sufficient research in finding a study abroad program that you really connect with and that you’re really interested in.

If your an upper year student, perhaps a junior or senior, you could also research graduate school programs that you may be considering to see some of the requirements. If they require results from standardized tests, etc. Start thinking about who you’re going to ask for recommendation letters to see if you meet those qualifications or to see what you have to do to meet those qualifications. Now is a really good time to start examining all of that.

You could also use this time to update your LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an epic excellent resource in the professional world. Alot of employers do take advantage of that social media platform in learning more about potential employees or potential candidates that they may want to hire. So I encourage you to get that nice headshot and update your profile to reflect some of the activities that you’ve completed or you’re currently involved in.

Make sure you keep that up to date, it can be a good source for gaining new opportunities for yourself in the future. Along with that, make sure you are constantly reviewing and updating your resume and look at new ways to restructure or reformat or change the language to be engaging or more succinct, or more descriptive. Whatever you need to improve upon. This is a wonderful opportunity to really examine your resume, what it looks like and some of its content.

As I mentioned before, it’s really important for you to plan your goals for next semester. Think about what you want to achieve academically, personally, professionally, socially. Think about the connections you’re hoping to make the grades that you want to achieve, the skill sets you want to acquire, all of that. And just set goals for yourself and keep yourself accountable to those goals by writing them down and revisiting them periodically throughout the next semester.

Now let’s talk about a little bit of money, money, money, money. Make sure you redo your budget. Look at some of your spending habits for the semester and then reassess or reevaluate what you need to cut back on. Reallocate your funds, whatever you need to do to get your budget intact and to have a clear understanding of how you going to go about spending.

Also, make sure you get your calendar together if you have to color code things or whatever the case may be. Get your calendar together. Mark the holidays. Mark your work days. Mark your class schedule. All those things that you need to go ahead and put on the calendar. Your friends birthdays. Google calendar is a pretty common and very useful tool to keep a pretty efficient calendar. That’s one resource that I certainly recommend. Of course, there’s the app and you could also access it on your computer or your laptop. Now the next area I want to talk about is reconnecting.

Reconnect with your loved ones. Reconnect with your chosen family, the people that make you happy. You may have those family members that get on your nerves or are pretty annoying. But it’s really important to check in on those individuals. And when it comes to spending quality time, you could spend that time with the people who are pretty important to you. So again, check in with those family members, your extended family. They haven’t probably seen you all semester.

You probably changed a lot and they might be curious to just check in on you and see how you’re doing and to learn how you’re enjoying your college experience. That would be really good to connect with those individuals. And oftentimes when you go back to your family home, and you want to continue the same activities that you were doing over the semester, and then you realize how much autonomy you’ve acquired in being alone and having to embrace your own independence as a college student. And so you might grapple with that a little bit, being at home with your parents, and they may have certain expectations of you getting up at a certain time or coming home at a certain time or cleaning up and all those sorts of things.

If you do run into that sort of friction, it’s always important to communicate. Just look at your parent in the face and smile and confidently say, you know, “over the semester, I’ve learned to be more independent and self-sufficient.” And you can reassure them- “you don’t have to worry. I got this.” And if you do it confidently and look them in the eye and you do it softly, I believe your parents can surely understand. So one thing you can do when you do go home and you are experiencing some of that friction of navigating your parents expectations, you could just meet them in the middle. Negotiate something.

If they want you home at 10 o’clock, say “you know, Mom, I’m going to be pretty safe. You know, I’m going to hang out with x y&z friend and I’ll be back by 1am. And it’s okay, I’m going to text to let you know that I’m okay at midnight.” You could say something like that to meet them in the middle, you could still do what you want, but you could do what they want in following up or checking in to make sure that you’re safe. So that’s something you could offer to reach some sort of compromise. Now to go back in spending quality time with your loved ones.

I encourage you to share with your siblings or your parents some of the challenges that you have to deal with in college. That is a wonderful way to connect with your family. And you could also share how you were able to navigate or overcome some of those challenges. And trust me, I believe your family members would appreciate your vulnerability and willingness to let them know some of your hardships and heartaches as a college student. And it’s a wonderful time to be inclusive of them in exploring some of your experiences. You can talk about your successes, your accomplishments. So again, I just encourage you to utilize your holiday breaks to reconnect by sharing your experiences with your family members.

And my last piece of feedback, I want you to reconnect not only with your family or your loved ones, reconnect with your community. Reconnect with your high school friends or your former teachers or coaches or community members. olunteer in your community as a way of giving back and again reconnecting to a community that you grew up in or a community that you cherish. So my question for you is, what will you do to rest hard? What will you do to play hard? What will you do to plan hard and what will you do to reconnect hard during the holiday break? After all, you deserve it. You did work very hard over the semester.

That’s it Thrivers. I invite you to connect with me at thriveinpodcast.com. Now on this website, you’re going to find amazing resources that are just for you. And if you love what you’ve heard during this session, I encourage you to rate and review this podcast on Apple podcasts. This is going to help other college goers find this show and learn more about it. Now, don’t you want all your friends to know how to have an epic holiday break? Be sure to share this with a friend and send me a message on topics you’d like me to speak about.

Feel free to follow and like me on social media at the handle DRIJCLC, which stands for Dr. IJ college life coach. Again, that’s DRIJCLC. I’m wishing you a safe, happy and thriving week. Join me for the next session. Love you.

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