College Winter Break: 4 Ways to Bounce Back

by Ashley Eneriz

After several weeks, your much-deserved college winter break is coming to a close. It’s time to trade in your living room for lecture halls and ramp up your motivation for the new semester.

Thankfully, there are a few strategies you can use to bounce back from winter break, helping to increase your focus and productivity for a successful spring semester. Give these four tips a try as you return to campus at Azusa Pacific University.

1. Focus on Your Health to Boost Productivity

Feeling a little sluggish or moody from an overindulgent Christmas and New Year’s? You aren’t alone. The wrong foods can zap energy and cause you to feel down or negative. Getting your diet and exercise routine back in check is a quick way to shake off those winter blues.

You don’t need to track down the latest weight loss fad to feel better. Simple changes—such as opting for more fruits and vegetables at every meal and bumping up your water intake—are great places to start.

Also, consider hitting the stationary bikes in the campus fitness center before your first class of the day to see if a short sweat session helps you focus. One study found that six out of 10 professionals reported having better time-management skills and improved mental performance on days they exercised. The group also reported that they were able to handle stress better and were not affected by the typical afternoon slump. Even better, the study discovered that these benefits were retained by all types of exercises, even low-impact moves like yoga.

2. Brush Up on Your Writing Skills

In the same way your muscles can weaken if you stop working out, your writing skills can also take a hit during the long, college winter break. An appointment with the Writing Center can help you get back in your essay-nailing groove. The Writing Center is also the perfect spot to brainstorm ideas before you start a paper (or if you get stuck in the process).

Already have a draft of your essay? The APU Writing Center team even offers proofreading assistance to help you catch typos or ensure your MLA or APA formatting is on-point.

3. Make Sure You Are on Track

It’s a good idea to check in with your academic advisor every semester to ensure you are on track. They can help you navigate a complicated dual major or major/minor combined degree plan, or simply prepare to graduate on time. Every counselor in the Office of Academic Advising wants you to succeed, so take advantage of their expertise—especially if you are facing a challenging class or are trying to align your credits for acceptance into a master’s degree program.

4. Organize Your Space and Calendar

Don’t start off the new semester in disorder; devote time to clean and organize your dorm and desk. Trash those old papers and sell any books or devices you no longer need. Treat yourself to a new planner that looks neat and is easy to transport, so you are more likely to use it.

Getting your space in order isn’t just for vanity’s sake. Cutting clutter from your life can help you perform your schoolwork better. According to a study by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute on clutter and the brain, the chaos of a cluttered environment can restrict an individual’s ability to focus and limit the brain’s ability to process information. In short, a cleaner room could potentially lead to better academic performance.

Take this new year (and semester) by the horns and make it your best one yet with more focus and better habits. Need some help reaching your academic or career goals? Azusa Pacific University has multiple campus resources available to assist you.