Skills you can learn over Winter Break (for free!)

The countdown is on: Only 48 hours and 1 final exam stand between me and a month of relaxation at home and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m not going to lie, this semester may have crushed my spirits just a little bit but I’m ready to come back and crush next semester with the new found energy I’m hoping to acquire at home.

A few things on my agenda this break are playing with babies, shopping with my momma, whipping up some creations on my sewing machine, and sleeping in the comfort of my own bed. But beyond that I’m looking forward to tackling some awesome projects over break. I’ve been teasing a bit on Twitter, alluding to a secret project (that will be launched January 1st!) but beyond that I’m looking to use my break to work on a few (less top secret!) projects, too.

If you’re looking to come back from break a little more skilled than you were before, I rounded up some awesome resources that you can use to keep your mind sharp over break!


Duolingo: If you haven’t heard of Duolilngo, it’s awesome. It’s a completely free language learning resource and it’s the best.  When I found Duolingo they only had a handful of languages to learn, but now they have over a dozen languages and a huge community of learners!

Bill Vicars’ YouTube: You may or may not know this about me, but I’m a competent communicator in American Sign Language. While I’m not fluent I can hold my own with native and non-native signers, but I’m always looking to improve. Beyond the 3 semesters of sign I took here at school, Bill Vicars’ YouTube channel has been an amazing resource. (And ASL Anissa is also a really fun channel if you’re looking to buff up on your vocabulary!

Codecademy: You guys, code is seriously so cool and it can really help you stand out on your resume. I feel like anyone growing up with Neopets or Myspace have at least a little bit of code background, but expanding on that just a little bit can open a ton of doors for you.

Learn to read faster: Thomas Frank is a college genius and his site, College Info Geek, is full of hacks you can use to make your college experience better. My favorite hack of his – speed reading. I didn’t realize how much time could be saved by learning how to read faster, but speed reading has changed my study game completely! 

Learn to knit: The summer before second grade I was the youngest member of my library’s knitting club by seventy years, give or take. I also really didn’t know what I was doing at all. But when I finally made my first scarf (as ugly as it was) I was so proud and that feeling of accomplishment still comes with every finished piece, even thirteen years later. Knitting is cool, ladies and gents.

Learn to cook: Reddit is a confusing place full of a lot of links that you do not want to click and people looking for fights, but if you can get past that there is also a ton of really amazing subs that you can waste hours on, and with some of them you’ll be even better for that wasted time! I loved this learn to cook sub, it’s specifically for people cooking for one which is perfect if you’re in college!

Honorable Mention: I’m throwing in the TED Talk website here because they are the best, and I’d argue that watching them can help you become a better conversationalist. It might be a stretch, but more often than not I feel like I’m a better person for watching them!

Alright, there are so many different resources you can use to improve yourself and learn new skills over break, but these are a few that stand out to me. If you know of any that I didn’t mention, please let me know in the comments!

  • I absolutely love codeacademy and have always wanted to learn sign language! Great post!

    Kristine |

    • I am a huge advocate of learning sign language! Since learning I’ve met some really great people that I’d have no way of communicating with, otherwise! Thanks so much for reading!

  • These are great ideas! If only I didn’t have to work all break, maybe I would have time for some of these 🙂 Great list!

    • Sorry to hear that you’ll be busy all break, hopefully it’s at least at a job you love (or with great people!) I hope you are still able to find some time to relax!

  • YES! I cannot vouch for Codecademy enough. I’ve been planning on doing their SQL course over winter break because it’s extremely useful for people going into Information Technology. Recently they’ve added even more courses too. I might look into the Java course as well, because I’m actually going to be studying that language next semester in my Computer Science class.

    • Codecademy is really the best! I’ve been slacking but I need to get back on top of things! Good luck in your computer science course!

  • Sydney S

    I’ve actually always wanted to learn how to knit, it may be time!!
    xo, Syd

    • Knitting is so rewarding! I love it, good luck!

  • Looks like I’m going to be kept busy this break! As usual, thanks for the great post!

    Shenga ||

  • This looks like a great list!

  • Love this! I’ve been trying to learn a little bit of ASL and brush up on my cooking skills–being productive like this over winter break keeps me sane.

    XO Paige