Semester break offers time for students to get ahead

By Molly Sheerer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- While students are away from campus for winter break, the spring semester is usually the farthest thing from their minds; however, there are several easy things students can do to prepare to come back to school while still enjoying time off.

Regardless of class standing, all students should invest in a suit over break, and remember to bring it back to school. Meg Brower, part of Career and Corporate Connections with the Smeal College of Business, says that they tell students to invest in a suit as early as FTCAP before their freshman year.

Brower believes it’s never too early to start planning and preparing. Over break, Brower suggests that students set aside a few hours to create a to-do list of everything one wants to achieve over the spring semester.

“You have to make a commitment -- make an appointment with yourself, just like working out,” she said.

According to Brower, students have to remember that their résumé is a living document. She suggests that students constantly revisit and update their résumés.

Continuing on the career focus, Brower suggests that students research upcoming career fairs and build time into their schedule to attend them. “Younger students should go to the career fairs as well so they can get a feel for them,” she added.

Additionally, if students are looking to improve academically this coming semester, Brower suggests students start by evaluating the previous semester and meeting with an adviser.

“Students should ask themselves what went wrong and why, whether it was the instructor, the class, the subject matter or other issues outside of the academic situation,” Brower said.

Whether students need help regarding academics or the internship or job search, Penn State has a wide array of resources. Brower suggests students check out their own college’s career site and Penn State's Career Services site for internship and job search advice, along with looking into Lion Tutors or Penn State tutoring for academic help.

Besides securing a suit and refreshing their résumés, Brower has a few additional suggestions for students to get a leg up for spring semester:
-- Research companies they are interested in working or interning for;
-- Make time in their schedules to visit an adviser when they return to campus;
-- Make time on their calendars to attend career fairs in the spring; and
-- Academically, make a commitment to procrastinate less and seek help when needed.

The semester break may be the perfect time to relax; however, it’s also a great time for students to devote just a few hours to get ahead and reap the benefits when they return for spring semester.

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Last Updated December 18, 2012