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Using The “Spring Break Slow-Down” To Your Advantage

During the spring semester, breaks seem few and far between, especially because of room selection processes, RA interviews, the conference/placement season, etc.  All of these vital processes really stretch the time that we as college student educators have to focus on our building, staff, students, and future initiatives.  With that in mind, Spring Break becomes extremely valuable for us to catch up with our job and gives us the opportunity to start spinning those creative wheels again.  “This could be a great summer project” might be a common phrase to hear in meetings with your supervisor, but with the free time that you may have during Spring Break (sorry, conference goers), why wait another two months when you could get started on things a little early?

Here are some things that, depending on your role in your department, you could begin to work on during the “Spring Break Slow-Down”:

  • End-of-the-year Recognition. The end of the spring term is around two months away, but instead of waiting (a month? a week? a day?) before your staff banquet/hall closing, spend some time strategizing ways you will thank your staff for all of the hard work they have put in during the academic year.
  • Revisit your resume/job application materials. For those of you who aren’t currently searching for jobs, Spring Break is a great time to devote some time to some documents that have been gathering digital dust on your computer since you searched for the job you currently have.  Updating your resume materials now to reflect things you are currently doing in your job will save you a lot of time once you are ready to re-enter the job search world, whenever that might be.
  • Evaluate your projects over the past year. We in Higher Education work in a fast-paced, always changing environment, and that environment doesn’t always allow us to focus in detail about what went well or not so well in regards to presentations, programs, and initiatives we’ve done this year. Allow yourself some time to jot down thoughts related to these projects — pro/con lists seem to work well — so that once the summer arrives, you will have already started a foundation for improving the work you do for students.
  • Evaluate departmental processes/initiatives. For those Student Affairs professionals who work at smaller universities/in smaller departments, the opportunity you have to make an impact on a departmental level is relatively high.  You get to see the intricacies of many/all of the work that goes on in your department, as well as have a front-row seat to observe the effectiveness of that work. Spring Break is a great time for you to look at initiatives like RA Selection, RA Training, and your department’s judicial process (to name a few), and think of ways to improve them as well. If your department is truly focused on student development, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind hearing any proposals you might have to make their processes even better!
  • Clean/organize your office. After all, it is Spring Break, so why not do a little Spring Cleaning! Not only will this help you to organize your office life, but it can even act as a motivator for that final push toward the end of the semester.
  • Relax! This might be the most important suggestion on this list. I know that there are several work-related suggestions above, but don’t make yourself crazy by trying to tackle everything and more during the Spring Break. Think of Spring Break as a time to get a jump on some old/new tasks, but if those tasks don’t have an immediate deadline attached to them, don’t treat the reopening of the residence halls after Spring Break as the time to get these things done! Always remember to make time for yourself!

What are some things that you have accomplished over a week-long break like Spring Break? Feel free to share projects you’ve worked on or great ideas you’ve generated during these breaks!

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