Volunteer, work over winter break

By Jackie Nevarez

With less than two weeks left in the semester, students are looking forward to a month free of classes.

Although it’s important to lie around and relax over the next month, there are also many fulfilling ways to spend time this winter break. Volunteering and working are great examples of how to stay productive for the upcoming winter break.

As you gather with your family for the upcoming holidays, keep in mind those who do not have the means or opportunities to do the same. Hope Haven, a shelter in DeKalb, is a great place to help out if you plan to stay in the area.

“It makes holidays more meaningful to volunteer,” said Lesly Wicks, Hope Haven’s executive director. “It embellishes what the holiday is all about.”

Wicks said this is the busiest time of year for volunteers and people from the community who participate in holiday activities at the shelter. A band comes to sing traditional Christmas carols and volunteers decorate cookies and make crafts with children from families in need.

With all of that in mind, volunteering is definitely a great way to share the holiday spirit with local families and those who need some extra help with the high costs that come with the upcoming holidays. Wicks encourages people to donate any way they can.

“Start a new tradition,” Wicks said. “Contribute money instead of giving gifts, or donate presents to the homeless.”

Volunteering isn’t the only thing you can do to keep yourself busy over winter break. If you are running low on money, as many college students often are by the end of the semester, consider finding a seasonal job over break.

Many big retailers and local businesses are gearing up for the holidays by taking in extra, temporary help. This is a great way to save up some money so students can focus on studying, instead of working, next semester.

Many students, like sophomore accountancy major Quinetia Achusim, rely on their jobs to help them financially throughout the school year.

“I need a job this break to pay my tuition and the down payment for my apartment next school year,” Achusim said.

Having a job over break can help keep yourself from getting lazy, but don’t forget to relax over break, too.

Most importantly, make time for family, friends and yourself this winter. It is a great time to recover from the stress of fall semester. Sophomore communication major Ashley Golden already has her break figured out.

“I plan on relaxing for the majority of this break,” Golden said. “I need a break after the stress from the academic year.”

Go ahead and sleep in, watch TV and eat great holiday treats. Just remember to give back by volunteering, and continue working this next month. It’s a great way to stay active and to prepare for next semester’s workload.