(May 30, 2006)
Life is full of unexpected surprises. There are many opportunities when one can secretly wish for something exciting to happen – something out of the ordinary. The real surprise is when the wish unexpectedly comes true. I never believed that something like this could ever happen to me; such a thing that would make me stop and look back at the events in awe. I think you would agree that something as simple as being lost in the forest for less than ten minutes should have no influence on my life. If you do agree, that makes both of us wrong.
Throughout my childhood, I loved the wild. My family and I would always go for a walk in the downtown forest of Coote’s Paradise. There were many times I thought of what could happen if we were to lose our way from the trail and have to live off of the land until we found our way back to civilization. I thought it would be the greatest experience ever.
As my brothers and I grew older, we continued to go for these walks with our parents but the dreams of living in the forest I soon forgot. That’s when it happened. We decided to take a different path off the main trail. Before I knew it, the path had disappeared and no one in my family could tell where we had come from. It was so unexpected. It gave me a feeling of excitement that can’t be described. Everything in the forest seemed different. The trees were a deeper shade of green. The birds chirped in a different tone. Vines covered almost every inch of the ground. One part of me never wanted this moment to end. I felt completely free from the stress of my life outside of the woods. It was this moment that I realized that I would much rather stay here for the rest of my life than go back to society.
I think that another reason that I felt carefree was because my parents didn’t panic. They took the situation under control and headed for any open area in hopes to find a map (many of these maps were found throughout the grounds, telling you where you were). From my point of view, at the time, it seemed as if they were excited as I was about losing our way. In the end, it only took my parents ten minutes to find such a map and we were back on the trail in no time.
An experience like this made me think about my place in life. I’m the type who loves seeking out adventures. When we were lost, I realized that I had everything I would ever need with me – my family. They’ve always supported me in everything I do. This experience made me realize that families need to stick together; you don’t realize how much you need them until, for a moment, you think they’ll be the last people you see for the rest of your life.
It’s incredible how much a simple thing like being lost in a forest for ten minutes will affect your outlook on life. Things like not being able to find your way back to where you came from make you appreciate the little things in life. Looking back on the day, I realize now that it was fate. Moments like that are few and far between and should be taken as a lesson. Surprises like this were, and always will be, an unexpected gift for all.
While you’re on break over the holidays, it’s easy to get into a lazy mode where you sit around doing nothing with your days, letting them mesh into one long continual nap fest.
While there is some value in getting shuteye, there’s only so much rest necessary and, to be fair, you do have other, more important things to do.
Like what, you ask? Don’t worry! We’ve compiled a handy list of helpful suggestions of things you could, should and will likely want to do over your holiday break.
So, make the most of every moment – you’ll be happy you did once you’re back into the swing of second semester!
1. Apply for scholarships and internships
If there was ever a time to apply, it’s now! You don’t have to spend the entire break applying for scholarships, but even if you devote a few hours to your scholarship applications; it will make a world of difference in your search. After all, it only takes one to win!
Here are some great resources to help get you started in your scholarship search:
• Black Friday Scholarships & Internships
• Let’s Talk Scholarships: Application Tips
• The 7 C’s of Winning Scholarships
• A Balancing Act: School and the Scholarship Search
• Scholarship Scam Red Flags
• Organizing Your Scholarship Search
• Fastweb’s Scholarship Directory
The same goes for your internship applications. It’s important to keep focused on your internship search throughout the year and never give up!
Here are some helpful resources to help in your internship search:
• 10 Ways to Stand Out at Your Internship
• College Bucket List: Complete an Internship
• Interning During the School Year
• Internship Interview Tips
Don’t forget, you can always arrange an informational interview or job shadow to learn about new career prospects (and network), too!
What better to get you in the holiday spirit than baking a pie? Your home will be filled with a delicious aroma and you’ll have a great gift to take to a holiday party or share with any house guests that stop by.
Check out Homemade for the Holidays for more great ideas for homemade holiday gifts.
3. Catch up with old friends (and stay in touch with new ones)
Pretty much everyone you went to high school with will be off school for the holidays. You can use this time to catch up, relive old times and get the gang together to reminisce about the good ol’ days.
Utilize tips to stay connected with old friends, like:
• Keeping in Touch
Stay healthy and combat the holiday bulge by keeping up with a regular exercise regimen. You’ll look – and, more importantly, feel – better.
Here are some resources to keep you motivated, healthy and on the right track:
• Helpful Student Health Tips
• 10 Scientific Reasons You Need a Good Night’s Sleep
• Stress Relief for Students
5. Plan next semester’s schedule
It’s time to get a jump start on planning next semester while you have time and there’s no time like the present!
Additionally, you should start creating a game plan for next semester now, before you get too busy to do so later.
6. Revamp your resume, cover letter and/or essays
Whether it’s a job, internship or college application resume, cover letter or essays, updated documents are always good to keep on hand at all times – after all, you never know when you might need them!
Opportunity knocks the moment you’re least expecting it so it’s always best to be prepared at a moment’s notice.
As a result, take the extra time during your break to work on all your important documents, adding any extra information you have had since you last updated them.
If you need any extra tips or reference materials, here are some helpful resources.
• Diversify Your Resume
• Writing a Resume Fresh Out of College
• 10 Professional Email Tips
• 7 Job Hunt Mistakes New Grads Should Avoid
• Recent College Graduate Resume Sample
• Receptionist Resume
• School Teacher Sample Resume
• Financial Analyst Sample Resume
• Cover Letters to Get You Hired
• Top Ten Cover Letter Tips
• Recent College Graduate Cover Letter Sample
• Ten Cover Letter Don’ts
• Internship Cover Letter Sample
For College Applications:
• College Application Resume Sample
7. Catch up on your reading
What we’re suggesting here is the kind of reading you actually enjoy – not your required reading for school. Seriously – when was the last time you read a book that you didn’t have to? Pick up a book because it looks interesting, cozy up and get lost in it. Enjoy – you’ll be happy you did!
Need a book suggestion? We’d recommend starting at the top and reading through all of the completely amazing, life-altering books on this list. Try this list if you’re looking for books that multi-task as standardized test-prep.
8. Spend quality time with family
You love them and they love you. No matter how much you hate to admit it, you miss them terribly. Why wait until the holidays to catch up with family?
Here are some tips to stay connected and deal when the going gets rough:
• What to Keep in Mind While You’re Keeping in Touch
• What Do I Need to Stay in Touch?
9. See a movie
Some of the best films of the year are released during the holiday season and, since you have a lot of free time on your hands, it’s a great opportunity to take advantage!
Ask a friend, family member or longtime crush to join and, perhaps, splurge on sharing that jumbo popcorn.
If you miss being at school, why not watch one of these 20 Must-See College Movies?
The holidays are a great time to volunteer. There are so many options out there, with something suited to everyone.
Check out the many resources available to find what you’d enjoy most:
• Student Volunteer Opportunities You’ll Love
• Top 10 Places for Students to Give Back
• Volunteer Scholarships
What else do you like to spend time doing over your holiday break?
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