How to Have a Productive Winter Break

By: Lexi

You are finally done with your Fall semester and finals, hooray! It’s now time to relax, but do not forget to stay on top of things and use your time to stay productive. Spring semester will be here before you know it and you do not want to be behind!

Use time for reflection on the semester & set goals for the upcoming semester
Take a little bit of time to think about the semester you just finished. Think about what you did and didn’t do well. Use that information to make some goals and identify priorities for yourself for the next semester.

Build and expand professional networks
Reach out to people or companies you have been wanting to contact, but haven’t yet. Expand your horizons, you never know how it could develop your professional profile. This could be done online through email, LinkedIn, a phone call, or you could even ask if they would like to get coffee. Remember to thank them and ask if they have any suggestions of who else you could reach out to.


Conduct informational interviews or job shadow
Informational interviews and job shadows are a great way to see if the profession you are thinking about is the right one for you. Most students do not have time to conduct these during the semester, so now that you are not in classes, take advantage of this time. This could also help you with career advice or confirm important classes that you should plan on taking.

Work more and save up
Rack up the hours at your job, if it’s possible! Winter break is a great time to save up to keep you on budget for the spring semester.

Apply for scholarships and internships for the summer
Many scholarships and internships are posted during this time, so start looking! It is better to start searching for these opportunities earlier rather than later, your chances will most likely be greater. If you need help with this, you can visit Career and Internship Services (we are open during winter break, except Dec 23rd-Jan 2nd).

Get volunteer hours in
Whether you need volunteer hours or you just want to give back to your community, the holiday season is one of the best times to do this! Use your free time to put some smiles on the faces of your fellow city residents.

Create a portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and/or revamp your resume
Now that you finished another semester, you probably have new projects, jobs, skills, and experiences you can add to your portfolio, LinkedIn, and resume. Take the time to update all of these so they are ready for when you start searching for a job or internship, then you will not have to frantically put all of these together at the last minute.

Hopefully, you will take advantage of this time when school is not crazy and do at least one of these suggestions. But do not forget to relax and enjoy your time off during the holidays, drink some hot chocolate, eat some cookies, and enjoy the twinkle lights with your family or friends. Happy Holidays!

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Photo source: Unsplash|Aaron Wilson

Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?

By: Zach

If there is one saying that I have never seemed to escape during my time here at UMD it is “wow, time goes by fast!” Even though we are all hunkering down for finals with winter break on the brink, spring semester is on the horizon, and there is still so much to be thinking about!

When we come back in January, there will be quite a bit on our plates, and it is important to take time over break to reflect on our accomplishments and set career goals for the future. This could be as simple as taking five minutes out of your day to jot down some long-term and short-term career goals. Let’s get real, we are all in higher education to better ourselves and make ourselves more valuable to employers. When we start thinking about the future, understand our skills and interests, and set goals, we are more likely to achieve them!

goal quote

Here are some simple questions to ask yourself when setting career goals:

Set long-term career goals (5+ years) by asking yourself questions like…

  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • What am I good at?
  • What aspects of a job do I like the most (eg. managing, communicating, data analysis, problem-solving etc.)

With long-term goals come short-term career goals (1-5 years) as well. Some questions to ask yourself…

  • What skills do I need to obtain in order to reach my long-term goals?
  • What knowledge do I need? (eg. college courses, internships, applied practices, etc.)
  • How should I start to focus my education in order to best prepare myself for my aspired career?

Once these two types of goals come into focus, it is much easier to be realistic about what can be accomplished now in order to get you closer to the career you dream about! I know all this talk about the future seems a bit “out there,” but remember… “wow, time goes by fast,” and before you know it, graduation day will be here!

All in all, I am keeping you informed about some simple tasks because this is really what it comes down to when we look towards our future. Remember that graduation day will come sooner then you think, and by taking the time to answer these simple questions during your education, I promise it will launch you into your exciting career!

Remember to stop into Career & Internship Services (SCC 22) to take advantage of our career planning resources such as the career assessments: Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and CliftonStrengths for Students.

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