Instead of sitting at home over break

Last week a student asked me what she could do over winter break besides sit at home. This is the best question I’ve gotten in a while, so here’s my answer:

Develop a morning routine. This is a good place to start.
Exercise every day.
Volunteer at a dog shelter.
Go for a walk (I love walking).
Listen to a podcast (especially while walking).
Learn to cook a new recipe.
Read a book.
Read another book.
Read another book (I just linked to the last three books I read for fun).
Organize and understand your student loans.
Write a kind note to everyone on your street and put it in their mailboxes.
Take a free course through edX or Coursera (I took Harvard’s “Justice” on edX last year and it was phenomenal).
Go to the library, and understand how the library can save you a ton of money on entertainment expenses over a lifetime.
Buy a bike. Ride it everywhere you need to go, within reason. Understand how this bike can save you a ton of money over the course of a lifetime by reading this article.
Make a Christmas present.
Organize a New Year’s Party.
Volunteer at a non-profit and offer to do social media marketing for them, even if you know nothing about marketing.
Visit one of your high school teachers.
Watch videos on Youtube that aren’t of cats or dogs. Youtube videos can give you tons of interesting knowledge, like this one.
Buy an indoor plant and learn how to take care of it.
Shovel someone else’s driveway.
Start a blog. Blog every day.
Find out who your representative is in the House of Representatives. Call him/her about an issue you care about.
Or figure out what the “issues” are first.
By reading some articles in the New York Times.
And on
And by listening to NPR.
Listen to an entire music album on Spotify you thought you’d never have any interest in.
Watch something on Netflix you thought you’d never have any interest in.
Learn the basics of investing money in index funds.
Learn how to get out of credit card debt.
Learn how to buy a credit card and how to use it wisely.
Learn how credit cards can help you travel the world for free.
Find someone who doesn’t have a home. Give that person money.
Try taking the local bus.
Ask your professor for the course syllabus in December; start doing the reading ahead of time.
Make coffee every day, using a new method each time.
Learn how to code HTML.
Set up an account at
Learn how to Geocache.
Explore post-graduate volunteer opportunities (I did this one for two years, but there are many more).

I’ve heard this method of trying new things metaphorically described as throwing a bunch of wet noodles at a wall. You throw the noodles and see which ones stick.

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