Don't Getting Rusty Over Winter Break

Many college students look forward to winter break. It marks the end of a semester, the half-way point for the school year and most importantly, you get to spend time with family. Most students get to enjoy an entire month or more of time off from school with no worries of homework or class lectures.
After a few months of intense study and test taking, it can be easy to lose some of what you learned when faced with time off. If you’re looking toward graduating from college, it will be important to retain something from each class and keep yourself from getting rusty over longer breaks. Summer learning loss doesn’t just affect younger students. College students can experience a loss of learning over time as well. Below are some great ways to keep your mind fresh over the holiday break. This doesn’t mean you have to spend the break writing term papers, but you will find it easier to transition back into the college routine once the break is over.

  • Review – A couple of times each week, look through notes from your previous semester’s classes. This is a great way to review things in a casual setting. Looking through these notes will also help you retain some of the things you’ve already been tested over without the added stress of an upcoming test. If you spend about 30 minutes to an hour each session looking over your notes, you will be surprised just how much of it sinks in and keeps your mind fresh.
  • Read Ahead – During the break you no doubt know what classes you’ll be taking the next semester. If possible, get a few of your books for those classes ahead of time and read a couple of chapters. This will ensure you can read in an environment you’re comfortable with and you can read without stress. Many students feel stressed during the semester to get required reading done, and may not retain what they read due to other class assignments. This way, you pick a time when it’s convenient for you and read what you can. You don’t have to make it through the entire book over the break, but reading through a few of the introductory chapters, or skimming through the book, can really go a long way.
  • Workout – Working out will not only help your mind stay fresh, it will benefit your body too. Try to work out over the holiday break on a regular basis. Getting regular exercise will keep your brain properly supplied with oxygen and able to function at its best capacity. It may be difficult to include exercise along with classes and studying once you get back to school, so make fitness a priority while you have the time.
  • Choose Wise Friends – The people you hang around can be instrumental in the success or failure of your college education. Find friends that are committed to doing well in school and they might have some ideas concerning what’s worked for them in terms of keeping their minds from getting rusty over breaks. You might be able to set up a time to review notes with them while you’re home if you guys have taken the same classes.
  • Tutor Others – Teaching others is a great way to reinforce knowledge you have and continually teach yourself. Find students that need some help in the subjects you’ve been studying and you can tutor them. Teaching someone is the best way to solidify information in your own head, so it’s a win-win.

Don’t look at breaks from school as a time where you’re required to study just like when you’re in school, but as a relaxed time to maintain and expand your knowledge. You can make the most of this break and increase your chances for being ready when the school year begins again by staying sharp.