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Staying Sharp Over Winter Break

As a student myself, winter break is a time for relaxation, and unfortunately, to let many of the skills learned through a semester of college to slip away far more quickly than they were learned. I understand personally how easy it is to let one's brain grow dull over the winter break that we all look so forward to. So what are some ways to keep your brain sharp? And more importantly, what are some fun ways to do so that won't make you feel as though you're actually working scholastically the entire break?
 
  1. Pick up a fun reading book: Reading is a great way to keep the mind sharp. It's engaging, it encourages critical thinking and imagination, and it challenges the mind to stay focused and recall facts about a story (especially if you don't read the book in one sitting!) To make this a more "social" activity, try to get a group together as a reading or book club. That way, you will all benefit from talking about the book and its contents, the storyline, and your favorite characters. It's also a great way to keep in touch with friends over break, especially if you all live in different areas!
  2. Puzzles: This is a personal favorite of mine. Puzzles challenge your memory as well as your ability to think in abstract terms. Everyone has their own strategy for doing puzzles, whether it's looking for pieces based on the picture or fit, doing the outside first and working in, or trying to work on all pieces of the same color. Find what works for you or try new strategies! You can also do puzzles with family or friends to make it a social activity. I personally like to do puzzles with a TV show or movie in the background for sound.
  3. Blogging/writing: Many people enjoy creative writing, so start a blog or tumblr during your break (or update it if you haven't been using it much). The writing will encourage you to be creative as well as exercise a large vocabulary and your grammar skills. I've found like taking a break from schoolwork to do some writing helps me lower my stress level and think more clearly.
  4. Study ahead: If you know there's a subject you've struggled with previously and are continuing with, try to look over your old tests or practice problems to solidify old content or work on problem points. If you had a subject you worked on in the past that you enjoyed, try to further your study of it. If there's a subject next semester that you feel you may have difficulty with or particularly enjoy, try to get the book and read ahead to give you more time in the next semester.
  5. Enjoy your break! At least as a college student, I've found that exams are incredibly draining, and my brain does need a rest before starting another difficult semester. While you need to keep your brain sharp, you should give yourself and your brain a rest, get some exercise, eat well, and recuperate before diving back into the books!
 
Comment below with some of your favorite things to do over break to stay sharp - you might be able to connect with others on here about favorite books or strategies!