Winter Break: Survival of the Fittest

You’ve officially made it! Some of you may have just finished your first semester of college and others may have just finished their last; however, regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, there’s one last thing you should be aware of…

…if you allow yourself to completely shut your brain off and end up with CPS (Couch Potato Syndrome), you risk fighting a terrible uphill battle when you come back to school next semester/begin your career in the professional world.


I get it – anything with any relation to academics whatsoever is more than likely the last thing that you’ll want to do at this point. Yes, you have finally been given the opportunity to kick back and relax for a few weeks before having to turn “procrastinating student mode” back on and you plan to relish every second of it. It’s perfectly fine to feel that way and you deserve to have a break because you’ve been working so hard for the last 14-16 weeks. However, at some point during your break, you should start waking your brain up in order to ensure your transition into the next semester will be a smooth one. And hey, guess what?! Now is the perfect time to begin, seeing as the start of the spring semester is closing in!

Keeping Your Mind Stimulated

Let’s just be up front and honest with each other – the easiest way of achieving this is the same way you’ll automatically, without any hesitation, say no to: by bringing out one of those handy, dandy, books (or using a phone app like kindle).


Reading will be the easiest, most accessible way for you to keep your mind sharp – and don’t forget, there used to be a time when you enjoyed reading!…even if it hasn’t been since the 3rd grade. If you really can’t stomach the idea of having to pick up an actual book before the semester begins then fine, there’s a great alternative for you. Living in the information age, I feel it’s safe to assume that most of you have some sort of smart device at your disposal (phones, tablets, computers, etc.); so if you’ve never even seen a physical book in your lifetime, you can still get a similar experience via your smart device.gaston-meme

Below is a book that I always recommend to my rising sophomores at the start of their summer vacation. In case you’re wondering why I don’t recommend it to incoming/current freshman: in general, the majority of first-year students won’t have the proper context for this book to be relevant to them. It’s very useful for you all (freshman) to read, but you’ll appreciate it more if you either wait to read it, or reread it after your first year/semester.

How to Become a Straight-A Student, by Cal Newport


How to Become a Straight-A Student“, by Cal Newport

  • This book is a must read – especially for those of you who are rising sophomores and/or second semester college freshman. Newport has done a great job of presenting student success strategies in a voice that many students can relate to. He dives into topics surrounding time management & scheduling, test preparation, note taking strategies, and many more. It’s an extremely easy read that will give you many “aha!” moments causing you to get extremely excited to go back to school (hard to believe, isn’t it?). This book is $12 on Amazon and is well worth the money.

Whatever you decide to do for the remainder of your winter break, I hope you find ways to keep your mind from losing all of the strength training and conditioning you put it through last semester. I promise you, picking up [and reading] a book will not set your world on fire.

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