• Allison Styffe

Some ways to spend your winter break

Congratulations! Whether you wrapped up your finals today or two weeks ago, you're done with the term; welcome to winter break! While these few weeks can usually be a busy time, with travels and gatherings and holiday to-do's, 2020 has brought about a different pace of life. Less agenda items and more free time might make for a few plan-free weeks ahead. So if Monday comes around you find yourself asking, "What am I going to do with myself?" we're here with a few ideas—


Research potential careers.

If you're not sure which path you want to pursue after high school, this is a great time to start looking into some future careers. We have some blog posts and resources that can help you no matter where you're at on the career-search journey:

Creating a Career Plan | Big Future | Occupational Outlook Handbook



Apply for scholarships.

Yes, you can apply for scholarships even if you're not a high school senior this year; there are plenty of them out there for students as young as 14. No, you don't have to write an essay for every application; check out last week's blog post with 20 essay-free scholarships for some ideas. Yes, there's still time; while a handful of scholarship applications have December 31st deadlines, there are many available year-round. Want more resources? Check out our webinar recording and slides all about scholarships here!



Complete a certificate or course.

If you love learning, there's no need take a break from it while you're not in school. Whether you're 17 or 27, adding extra skills and knowledge to your tool belt is an excellent way to increase your chances of employment and advancement. This fact doesn't seem to be lost on you all: blog posts with fun, free online certifications and classes is our most viewed to date. Here are a few more options to add to that list—

  • Department of Sound: This introductory music production workshop will take you through step-by-step lessons that give you the tools to create your own beats and podcasts, discover how to take your career further, and spark your creativity.

  • Phlearn: For the aspiring photogs, animators, and graphic designers out there, this platform offers all sorts of free Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials. Create presets or cutouts; add textures, overlays, and other effects; make your own animations and more!

  • edX: Didn't get in to that developmental psychology class you were hoping to take next term? Wanting to take an artificial intelligence course, but your school doesn't offer one? No problem! This is an online platform that offers more than 2,500 courses online for free. Note that enrollment dates vary by class, and certificates of completion can be purchased if you'd like to make your learning more official.



Update your resume.

With more online courses, some of you have had more time in your schedule to work, which means your resume could probably use some updating. If you don't have one yet, no need to start from scratch—there are lots of templates out there to help you get started. Don't have any work experience? No problem! Instead of employment history, highlight the activities you've been involved in so far: clubs, sports, volunteer work, etc.





Job shadow (virtually).


There’s nothing like being on a real job site to get a feeling for a career or industry you have an inkling you may have an affinity for. Our current pandemic situation is making this nearly impossible, but we’ve got virtual job shadowing to the rescue! Virtual Job Shadow is an innovative website where you can explore hundreds of day-in-the-life job shadowing videos of real people who work in those real jobs!.


Through these observations, you'll learn about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role as well as the training required and potential job opportunities.


Students in Capstone and AVID have access to Virtual Job Shadow, a site with hundreds of amazing career videos, education requirements, salaries, job outlooks, and more. For students not in these classes, look on this Google sheet for the link to VJS and use the Username/Password that’s attached to your counselor/advisor.



Relax and enjoy.

If there's one thing we hope you do this break, it's this. Online classes can be stressful, and online life can be draining. So, while you can, get offline and do something that brings you joy! Watch too many holiday movies and bake too many holiday treats, rearrange the furniture in your room or read a book just for fun. Enjoy the break and the final weeks of 2020. Here's to hoping for better things in 2021!

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