10 Things to Do During Your Break Between College Classes
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One of the greatest benefits of college is the freedom to craft your own schedule. At the same time, it can also be difficult trying to set up that long list of classes on your degree plan to fit into a neat back-to-back block.
Oftentimes, due to your preference for morning, afternoon, or evening classes and when the classes you need are available, you will have gaps in your schedule.
Sometimes, you'll have only 15 minutes in between each class, but other times you may have hours of time to kill. The trick to being successful in college is to fill that time effectively with both academics and self-care.
According to Active Minds, 39% of college students experience a significant mental health challenge. With that said, you should strive to create a work-life balance and protect your mental health. Keep reading to discover ways to fill your break between college classes effectively.
1. Go Work Out
If you have an hour or more to spare, hitting the gym is a great way to get in some exercise. Whether popping in for a quick class, jumping on the elliptical, or making it a leg day, adding a workout to your routine has physical and mental benefits.
Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare, you can get in some steps and boost your energy level. Research shows that exercising has great stress-busting benefits and increases your body's production of endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters.
2. Take a Power Nap
Smaller breaks in your college class schedule make for opportune times to take a power nap. According to research, power naps are restorative in nature and can improve both cognitive function and memory.
Naps may also help reduce anxiety and stress, benefiting your physical health overall. Whether you have time to take a quick 10-minute nap or a longer hour siesta, the goal is to awaken feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
One of the most productive ways to use your time between classes is to study. This can include taking notes on your assigned readings, completing homework, and reviewing your class notes. You can also study for an upcoming quiz or exam.
You might decide to create a study group as part of your study routine. You can either find students from the same class to review specific course material weekly or gather a group of friends and hold one another accountable during study sessions.
4. Explore Your Campus
You're probably familiar with the buildings that house your major. You may even trek once or twice a week to the library to study. But you can also use breaks between your college classes to explore your campus.
Getting to know campus can familiarize you with locations you may need to go to for meetings, interviews, or classes. As you check out new buildings, you could find your favorite cafe, coffee cart, or unique artwork. You might even discover the perfect study nook for you or your study group.
5. Work a Shift
If you have larger blocks of time between classes, consider getting a part-time job. There are often many on-campus opportunities to work in the library, the dining hall, the campus bookstore, and campus offices.
Your academic advisor and the financial aid office can point you in the right direction. If you only have smaller amounts of time between classes, you can work a side hustle by reselling items on places like eBay or Poshmark or by setting up an Etsy store.
6. Grab A Bite
With your schedule varying from day to day, it may help to plan times to fuel your body. You can pack a healthy snack to munch on between classes or plan to have a meal using your dining plan.
Ensuring you have time to both eat and hydrate can help you succeed in your classes. A 2017 systemic review found that there is a significant correlation between nutrition and academic achievement. Take some time to plan out your meals to prepare your mind for a long day of classes.
7. Work on Job Applications
Another great way to use your time is to apply for internships, jobs, and teaching assistant positions. You can polish your resume, write a cover letter, or search for campus jobs. In addition, you can contact recruiters and email references for letters of recommendation.
Something fulfilling you can do during breaks between classes is to get involved on campus. You might consider volunteering at your campus clinic, library, or student center. You could also volunteer for a professor whom you've developed a rapport with.
Wherever you choose, volunteering is a great way to give back to your college community. Plus, volunteering can help build your resume and highlight your interests.
9. Build Relationships
Building relationships is a productive way to spend your time. You can make friends and find study buddies. Balancing schoolwork and social life is essential, so take that time to chat with a classmate or join a pick-up game in the quad.
You can also use this time to get to know your professors during their office hours. This type of relationship may become invaluable when you need letters of recommendation. Networking with peers and mentors — and fostering these relationships — can help you achieve your goals.
10. Focus on Your Mental Health
One area often overlooked is focusing on mental health. Overloading your schedule, not taking care of your physical health, and not giving yourself time for a brain break can negatively impact your mental health.
Take the time to talk to friends, walk around campus, enroll in a yoga class, or do whatever helps you decompress for a bit. Colleges also provide campus mental health services where you can get great tools and resources from a professional.
Should You Set Up Your College Schedule to Include Breaks Between Classes?
One consideration in planning your class schedule for the upcoming semester is whether or not to include breaks between classes. Integrating both short and long breaks to meet your learning style can help you create a good balance between work and play.
Purposefully choosing your class schedule and being mindful of when you need to eat, socialize, and decompress can set you up for success in college.