Students can stay productive to avoid the winter brain drain

Alicia Balog

With a three-week long winter break, Kent State students can breathe a sigh of relief and relax. Still, students need to stay productive over break so they can prepare for the spring semester.

Della Marshall, associate director for the Center for Student Involvement, said students should not just go home and do nothing over break but stay active for their mental health.

“I think it keeps you mentally stimulated, so you’re not just veging on a couch and becoming a couch potato,” Marshall said.

Yet she said very few activities occur on campus during the winter break for students to participate in and stay involved in the university.

“But what we do try to do is we encourage students to check out our ‘What’s Up Page,’ which we’ll do our last posting for that this Friday, which will kind of tell people what’s going on with the all-night studies during finals week,” Marshall said. “Then we’ll remind people about the upcoming athletic events that will be going on over the break period until classes resume (Jan. 9).”

Marshall said students could prepare for their classes next semester as a way to stay productive.

“Well, I would think, one, if they know their course schedule for the spring semester, they may want to get ahead by starting to read in advance for some of their classes for spring semester,” Marshall said. “You could get the books and take them home over the holidays and start doing some chapter reading in advance.”

Ten Ways to Stay Productive Over Break:

  • Volunteer time at a food bank, library, veterans’ home or other social service
  • Get ahead in class for next semester by reading chapters in the textbook
  • Secure a job on campus for spring semester
  • Visit elderly relatives or senior citizen home
  • Exercise at local recreation center
  • Check out community and holiday events at home
  • Go to a high school and talk to students about college experiences
  • Learn how to cook
  • Read a good book for fun
  • Go Christmas caroling

    Contributed by Della Marshall

Annika Johnson, freshman aeronautics major, said she wants to stay organized over break and work on a list of requirements for her major.

“I want to have that list done and prepared by the time that … we get to winter break, and I kind of want those due dates so I know what’s expected, so I know what to start working on now,” Johnson said. “Especially in aeronautics, there’s certain clearances you have to go through in order to actually be cleared to fly.”

Students can also volunteer their time over break to help their home communities, Marshall said.

“We also would suggest that students look at the KSU Volunteer list service if they are interested in doing some volunteer or community service activities during the break to see about the different agencies in Portage, Summit or Stark county that they may want to, you know, offer some volunteer hours to during that time period,” Marshall said.

Even if students are stuck indoors during winter break, there are other opportunities to stay productive. For instance, when the weather is cold and wet, Marshall said people can learn how to cook.

“Learn how to make soups and, you know, some of those staples that you need to get you through the cold winter in Northeast Ohio,” Marshall said.

Even simply reading a book can help keep students productive, Marshall said.

“And then you could always read a good book. They’ve got some nice books out right now,” Marshall said. “I mean for pleasure — not academic.”

Even though there are many opportunities to stay productive over break, Marshall said students need to remember winter break is ultimately a time for rest before school starts the following semester.

“I really think that for those three weeks you’re off, there are a lot of different things that I think students should do,” Marshall said. “But most of all, you want to get some rest and time with family and friends and gear up to come back for the spring semester.”

Contact Alicia Balog at [email protected].