Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Staying Productive During Winter Break

This blog post was written by Peer Career Ambassador Calvin Wang ’19.

It’s 2 pm on a Wednesday, you just got out of bed and had some pastries for “lunch.” You sit down to spend yet another day aimlessly scrolling through Instagram in one hand and choosing the next Netflix series to binge on with the other. Sound familiar? That’s right – I’m talking about the doldrums of productivity – Winter Break. Here at the CCD, we are trying to buck that trend. I wanted to share with you some ways to stay productive, or start being productive, during this 4-5 week period.

Those looking for academic preparation:

  1. Start looking up notes and gathering textbooks from friends for next semester’s classes:

This is a great thing to do in order to prepare for a class, especially if you know the class might pose a challenge to you. For example, if you have heard that a certain sophomore year SME class may be a little difficult, winter break might be a great time to start getting notes together, reading up on the subject, and perhaps even starting the course by getting a feel for the first few sections ahead of time.

  1. Read a book that will give you new perspective ahead of a class:

Often times, professors will assign readings or entire books to read before you take the course. In this case, it would be a good idea to get a head start on reading that book and others like it in order to further your knowledge of the subject, so that when class starts and there are discussions to be had and an essay to write, you can be on top of things with the subject.

Those looking for ways to make money:

  1. Market your skills and do what you are good at:

Sites such as Fiverr, PhotoDune, Etsy, or Upwork are all great places to begin. These sites allow you to complete odd jobs or tasks, such as photography or Search Engine Optimization or hand-made crafts, in return for money. Spending some time crafting and selling on Etsy is a popular way to make some cash from a hobby you have. In addition, service such as GladlyDo in the Boston area will pay you anywhere from $10-$25 an hour to do odd jobs, such as dogsitting, moving, or gardening.

  1. Start an investing account:

With some platforms having no minimum entry level to maintain, you can easily start a brokerage account with $500, or even less depending on the service. Winter break would be a great time to start looking into your options – as well as start doing some research on how to find a good investment. You can take the time to narrow down on your investment philosophy and begin to learn the in’s and out’s of long term versus short term investing and trading. You can also begin to learn the differences in brokers and find the best one for you. This would be a good time to speak with friends who invest, parents, or other people in your network who might be able to lead you further in this field.

Those looking for resume-building activities:

  1. Look for ways to volunteer at a local organization:

There are tons of local charities and organizations that can use a little more help during the wintertime – and this is where you step in. This is a great opportunity to make an impact, feel good, and have something to put on your resume. Tons of employers value volunteering experience and this could be a chance to get into that field.

  1. Look for seasonal jobs:

During the holiday shopping season, retail stores are getting clobbered with people wanting the best deals and thus, traffic is always at an all-time high. There might be lots of opportunities for you to work a seasonal position at an outlet mall or café – a great way to add something to your resume while making money and building skills at the same time.

  1. Participate in a case competition:

Each year, there are lots of case competitions all over the place – these are great for putting the skills that you learned in school to use. A Google search reveals lots of different cases all over the country, and Babson offers plenty here as well. Winter break can be used to form a team, develop a strategy, or just learn more about the subject. Placing in a case competition looks really good on a resume and allows for you to speak purely about your teamwork and ability to put what you learned in school to good use.

These are just some of the many great ways you can use to stay productive over the holidays. Whether your goal is to get ahead on next semester’s classes, make a quick extra buck, or build your resume further, there are lots of opportunities for you no matter where you will be this break. Combining some of the activities I listed here can also be a great way to make the most of your break and remain productive during those 5 weeks.