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Have a Break? Be Productive!

by edgab

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arms up success

Whether you are on summer break or are in between courses or assignments, blocks of time away from school can be the perfect time to take a step back, recharge, and brush up on your skills.  These breaks can also contribute to a lack of motivation or interest.  Here are some tips for dealing with time away from school:

Create a Reading List

Create a reading list comprised of informative texts relating to your degree or program.  Add one or two books to the list that are for fun.  See what others are reading and recommending in our forum.  Need help completing the list?  Find a recent article or book that interested you and search their reference list for possible texts. 

Network Online

Networking online through social media sites such as LinkedIn and Academia is great for remaining up-to-date on current topics in your field.  If you don’t have an account, create one during your break.  Join groups that align with your studies.  Already have an account?  Update it so that it’s clear and fresh.  Search 10 profiles consistent with your own.  While searching, make note of words or phrases that appeal to you and use those to update your own account.  Use clear, direct short statements to stand out.  People who review LinkedIn and Academia profiles are scanning for specifics, and are seeking to learn about you in a few minutes or even seconds.  Send edgab a request to review your profile if you need a second eye. 

Build Networking Skills

With so many advances in technology, it’s easy to forget how to socialize.  Solid communication skills are assets companies will continue to look for when hiring people for internships or jobs.  Practice small talk and introductions with a friend or family member.  Think about former uncomfortable social situations; what made them uncomfortable?  How did you handle it?  Instead of avoiding the potential for these situations to occur again, brush up on your social skills.  Learn how to show interest in others by asking open-ended questions.  Practice listening, eye contact, and approachable body language.  Face-to-face contact is hands down, a primary way to make a lasting impression on someone.  Build your networking skills at a local conference, workshop, or meet-up. 

Assess Strengths

Determine your academic strengths and weaknesses and begin tackling one area of opportunity at a time.  Have difficulty using Excel or Word?  Sign up for a class at your local library.  Choose one skill to strengthen, master it, and move on to the next.

Reflect

Take time to reflect on your educational experiences.  Set aside 30 minutes a day to write or think about what you learned from former accomplishments and struggles.  Get in touch with the feelings associated with your experiences.  Keeping emotions and thoughts bottled up inside contributes to increased stress, anxiety, and abnormal sleep patterns.  Reflecting on experience also promotes awareness of current goals and needs.  Get your thoughts and feelings out to recharge your life.   

Hey! Any thoughts?