Assignments, classes, Zoom sessions, jobs and internships – these things will take up most of your energy during the semester. But when the holidays come round, it’s time to catch up on all those little things you’ve meant to do for ages. Here are 14 things to fill the holidays with that are productive and will help you be better prepared for next semester.
1. Learn some quick, easy recipes
Experiment with new recipes over the holidays and choose some that you can whip up quickly when things get busy next semester. Or, if you’re a beginner, now’s the perfect time to start your Masterchef journey. Having a few pre-packed lunch recipes and quick, easy dinners in your repertoire will make your life much breezier when you have to cram. Plus, with a few small adjustments, you can start saving money when it comes to cooking at home and buying groceries, so you’ll have extra funds to enjoy in the new year.
2. Sort out your enrolment
Don’t get caught out on your study plan when the holidays finish – take the time now to check that you’re enrolled in all the right subjects for next semester. Read the subject guides so you know what to expect from your classes and find out which books you need to buy (if you plan far enough in advance, you can save a lot of money by buying books in advance).
3. Clean and unclutter your space
Holidays are the perfect time to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff that’s crowding up your life. Sell the things you aren’t using or give them away – Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and local community markets in your area are a great place to sell things online. If you’re renting, now is also a good time to do some heavy-duty cleaning, so you’re not taken by surprise by your next inspection!
4. Make a ‘next semester’ calendar
Many people find having a customised calendar really helps them to plan out their activities and stick to goals. Draw up a 12-week calendar with all your important events, deadlines and classes for the coming semester. You can use an online template, or get creative and break out the pens and paper.
5. Get fit
Isn’t this on everyone’s to-do list? It can be very easy to let your fitness slide a little during the school term, but you don’t necessarily have to go running every day to make up for it (unless you want to). Find an indoor or group activity that will keep you active during the holidays – there are a huge range of ways you can get fit in Australia that will suit every budget.
6. Practise your English
However good your English, the holidays are the perfect time to make it even better. Decide if you want to improve your vocabulary, your conversation skills or your reading and set a goal for yourself. Check out our Top 5 Ways to Improve Your English Online to get started.
7. Call friends and family back home
It’s easy to fall out of touch when you’re busy, especially with old friends from back home. Block out some time to call your parents, your siblings and your old buddies and have a proper, meaningful conversation with them. There are a number of easy ways you can stay connected with family and friends online.
8. Get your study supplies ready
Take an inventory of all your study supplies (including tech stuff like computers and hard drives), and figure out what you’re going to need for next semester. Do you have software that needs updating? Do you have ink in your printer and plenty of sticky notes? Get everything you need now so you’re ready when uni comes around again, plus you can try and grab some discounts at end-of-year sales.
9. Get in touch with the international student community
If you want a head-start on building professional connections, you can turn some of your holiday socialising into networking. There’s a lot of opportunities out there in the form of events, student groups and societies. Following groups or societies on Facebook or LinkedIn is a great way to get connected with what’s going on in your international student community so you can snatch up job or volunteering opportunities when they come up.
10. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
Time to put together that perfect CV you’ve been wanting to write. Include all these extra skills and experiences you’ve picked up during the last semester – remember that you can include societies or clubs you’ve joined, and volunteer opportunities you’ve undertaken. Also make sure that all your online resumes are up to date. LinkedIn is the one of the most important tools for job hunters nowadays, so make sure you’ve perfected your profile, but also make sure to update any public social media, blogs and personal websites.
11. Organise your inbox
Do you have hundreds of unanswered and unread emails? Clear up your online space by going through your old emails. Check for anything important, delete what you don’t need and while you’re at it – unsubscribe from those pesky junk emails.
12. Build your work experience
With the extra time on your hands, you can find a way to get new experience or skills to add to your CV. Start a new hobby, join a club, volunteer or apply for a scholarship. The Insider Guides International Student Webinars series feature a range of sessions with employability experts who offer advice on practical ways to get started.
13. Learn more about what you study
Whatever you study – accounting, nursing, communications – there’s always a fun way to expand your knowledge of your industry. Find YouTube videos or documentaries, take an online course or go to events and exhibitions related to where you want to work. A little extra background knowledge will go a long way when uni starts back up.
14. Get a clear head
Do anything that you love that takes you away from all the hustle and bustle. Go for walks in nature, turn off your phone for a day or try something creative like a colouring book. Recharging and getting into a good headspace might be the most important thing you can do for yourself these holidays.