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Winter Break Opportunities

Avoiding Intellectual Apathy

As students sitting in class around fall mid-terms, Winter Break and all its benefits couldn't come sooner.  You’ll be able to catch up on sleep, be treated to home-cooked meals, and have more time than you know what to do with.  Depending on how winter sessions are scheduled and how the calendar falls, Winter Break can be anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.  This time can be utilized in exciting, prolific  ways, or it can be wasted in a brain-washing routine of senseless events (or lack thereof).
The way to make the best out of this time may not be the same for each student.  Some majors may want you to focus more on volunteer work while others suggest independent reading relative to your degree.  Whatever it is that you do, keeping the gears moving in your head is an important facet to being prepared for another semester of academia and even integral to the maintenance of your own sanity.
The following ideas will apply to many students and certain majors will be highlighted throughout to give a place for you to begin.

General Suggestions by category:

Academic Study:

  • Consider a winter session for elective credit or even just a course outside of your major that you’re simply interested in taking.\
  • A semester abroad.  The advantages of going abroad are somewhat self-explanatory (but it comes at a price).  All factors (financial, holiday, family-time) considered, search “TERM: Winter” (
  • Attempt to get in touch with some faculty interested in some of the same topics you are by looking at their faculty pages (likely on the department’s website).  There’s a good chance you will need letters of recommendation someday soon!
  • If you aren’t already aware of the texts you will need for the following semester, email the professor and get a jumpstart on reading.
  •  Utilize the UB Music Library (check website for hours and closings) which has literature on music, biographies, journals and magazines, printed music for nearly all instruments, sound recordings, and videos; Library online @ Naxos Music Library and DRAM: (Suggested for Music)
  •  Meet with the librarian for your major:
  • Read up on post-undergrad opportunities; some suggestions for psychology majors:

Career Planning:

  • Create an account on Bullseye to search employers or to be searched for! (
  • If interested, begin looking at Graduate schools to determine what sort of requirements you will need to fulfill in order to apply; make a list of which schools interest you and take note of deadlines.
  • Take a “Road Trip to the Real World” ( > Programs & Services)

Volunteer Work:

  • Work with a refugee agency as a guide or companion: Vive la Casa, Journey’s End, International Institute. (Suggested for Anthropology and the Romance Languages)
  • Volunteer at soup kitchens: City Mission, Salvation Army, Loaves and Fishes. (Suggested for Anthropology and the Romance Languages)
  • Volunteer in political or government offices (even if it’s just making coffee or copies, the observation is valuable).  (Suggested for Political Science)


  • Travel to unfamiliar places domestically and abroad. (Suggested for all majors!)
  • Take a multiple day trip to Toronto and visit several Asian ethnic communities or institutions: Temples, China Town, Korea Town, etc.; talk to the people there, go into shops, eat at their restaurants, and note comparisons between the communities observed. (Suggested for Asian Studies)
  • Read books related to your studies; read on the ‘Greats’ of our time (Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman, Mary Beard); utilize the Times Literary Supplement. (Suggested for Classics and English)
  • For students interested in language, listen to the radio or watch television in the language desired or read online newspapers and novels.
  • For those interested in the health-related fields:
    • Shadow clinicians in your desired field.
    • Get involved with a local clinic and volunteer your time.
    • Talk to those in your desired field and ask them lots of questions.
    • Network with current students in the desired field.
    •  Join a pre-health Student Association.

Don’t Forget Leisure!
 Although it’s important that you spend time doing constructive, thought-provoking activities in your time away from school, maintain a degree of relaxation and leisure to avoid becoming burned out!
Here are some things you could do for yourself:

  • Spend time with your friends and loved ones.
  • Engage in activities that are low-stress and offer relaxation for mind and body.
  • Avoid sleeping-in and falling into bad habits (you will be returning for another semester sooner than you realize!)
  • Remain physically active.
  • Try to schedule all necessary health appointments during this time that you normally cannot fit in during the academic year.

Organizational Contact Information

City Mission:

100 E. Tupper Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
Phone: (716)-854-8181

International Institute:

864 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14209-2093
Phone: (716)-883-1900

Journey’s End:

84 Barton St # 2
Buffalo, NY 14213-1573
Phone: (716)-882-4963

Loaves and Fishes:

875 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716)-882-1861

Salvation Army:

960 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202-1197
Phone: (716)-883-9800

Vive la Casa:

50 Wyoming Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14215
Phone: (716)-892-4354


Last Updated: September 21, 2016