How to Use This Winter Break to Build Your Career
I am a Senior studying Political Science, English and Film Studies. Over the course of five semesters, I have changed my mind about what I want to do after graduation (way) more than five times. This article is about how I have and will use my Winter break to move forward in my career. I also have some ideas/suggestions for how you can do the same!
My experiences throughout these years has not been about what I want rather, it has been about what I do not want to do after college. These experiences and exploration of opportunities has been possible because I spent my Summer and Winter breaks preparing for them. In the two Winter breaks I have spent in Lincoln, I have used these them to secure an internship for the Spring semester (through talking with my advisor and connecting with an expert in field) and finding out what a day in the life of a Political Scientist looks like. Here is what I plan to do this Winter break to further explore my career:
- Network: LinkedIn, Handshake and Facebook are my go-to networking platforms, especially in the winter. Being an international student, it is challenging to connect with people and network. Between the pandemic and snow, I will take any opportunity that does not involve leaving my apartment. On LinkedIn, I connect with professionals in the fields I would like to explore. Look through your already established connections especially your professors (yes, connect with your professors over LinkedIn!! Not only are they a great resource for recommendation letter but their connections can lead to amazing opportunities) to find someone whose profile looks interesting. Direct message them to introduce yourself and do not hesitate to ask them if they would like to talk over Zoom (or any other platform), you will be surprised how many of them say yes.
- Talk about ideas: As I approach my last year in college, I have many ideas about how to approach my career path after college. The first step I am going to be taking is networking, building connections and making conversations about my goals. continuing my education in Political Science. Voicing out my ideas, no matter how crazy they seem will connect me to people with similar backgrounds and interests. I have two months to solidify my ideas, talk about them with people who know me well and get different perspectives on them to know how successful they might be.
- Read, read, read: What better way to spend a cold day in than with a cup of hot beverage and a book? I will be making a list of books written by people in my field of interest and books I should read before jumping into the profession of my choice. Books are the perfect way to reflect and think ahead to really know if this is what I want out of life after college. Some other resources include reading professional sources online, business news, following newsfeeds of favorite organizations and industry leaders on their favorite social media (like Twitter, if not LinkedIn), and listening to podcasts.
These activities have worked to help me build my career path and they could help you, too, but be creative, find what works for you and your interests. Just take some time this winter break to make steps towards your career!
by Nidhi Polekar, UNL Senior, Political Science, English and Film Studies and Senior Peer Career Guide in University Career Services