When the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, the last thing you want to be doing is donning the snow boots and trekking to the library.
For a business school student the risk of mental burn-out is an insidious ghoul. All the more reason then, to treat the holiday season as a chance to relax and reflect, ready to enter the new year with a fresh, invigorated mind.
So, dose up on eggnog, slip on the slippers, and doze off in an armchair free from economics 101, digital marketing, or entrepreneurship for beginners.
Here's five things b-school students should do to make the most of the holiday season:
1. Read (something other than a textbook)
“The more that you read, the more things you will know! The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!”—Dr. Seuss is so often a source of inspiration, and nothing rings truer than this quote.
Reading puts in the palm of your hand ideas from all over the world—similar to a business school classroom. So, this festive break, dive between the lines of your favourite book and come up to the surface with a newly invigorated mind.
After all, “the best way to learn about the world is to read thousands of books, and travel thousands of miles,” says Dora Ke, an MBA graduate from IE Business School.
And for Roberto Lionti, a current online MSc in International Business student at Birmingham Business School, “reading over the holidays will keep your brain juices flowing and make it easier to get back into your studies afterwards.”
“Reading in general will also improve your vocabulary and use of grammar, bringing added value to your university assignments, in which you will be more expressive and have more options as a writer,” he says.
Use the Christmas break to travel around Europe, America, or further afield. Immersing yourself in various cultures and ways of living is a great way of expanding your perspective and furthering your understanding of the vast canyon of international personalities that are on your MBA or Masters in Management program.
“Six of my classmates are travelling abroad during the holidays—to Moscow, London, the Maldives, New York, and Paris—to party, take part in cultural activities, but mostly get back together with loved ones,” says current International University of Monaco student, Stephanie Jaquet Hart.
3. Spend time with family
For Stephanie, Christmas is a “synonym of being reunited with your family, and sharing moments of joy.”
So whether it’s cleaning up the mince pie crumbs your dad spilled after one too many whiskeys, teaming up with your mum to concoct a masterful Christmas feast, or ensuring your pet dog doesn’t tear down the Christmas tree, make the most of every minute spent with family this holiday season.
“One should enjoy every moment because those moments shared with your family are unique and special,” says Stephanie. “As I always say: it’s the little things in life that make a difference. You only have one family, so may your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and happiness.”
4. Eat and drink (a lot!)
Christmas is a time for guilt-free feasting. Business School classrooms are an international cocktail of culture and diversity, offering so much in the way of traditional, worldly food and drink—good French Foie Gras with toasts and onion confit, in Stephanie’s case!
So whether you’re a Bath School of Management student in the UK feasting on turkey and roast potatoes or a member of Copenhagen Business School learning to make classic Danish dessert, Ris a l’amande, feast to your heart’s content this Christmas.
5. Relax and re-charge
When the reading piles up, exams loom, and you end up residing in a fort made from month old notes, you can be loath to step back, and breathe for a second.
“Relax, have fun, and take a break,” advises Renee Kroner, current MBA student and Global Women’s Leadership scholar at Cass Business School. “We don’t take the time to recharge, and we don’t really take breaks. But I think that’s the best thing to do over the holidays.”
And senior director of career development at Hult International Business School, Peter Hill, agrees.
“The holidays are the perfect time to detach from our usual professional or academic pressures,” he says.
“This time is ideal for clearing the mind and reflecting on our successes over the past year. It is those successes that we have enjoyed the most and that have brought us a strong sense of pride that offer us clues to what meaningful work means to each of us personally.”