Counselor Corner: How To Spend a Meaningful Winter Break


As the holidays approach, students are beginning to think about how they plan on spending their winter vacations. In past years, while some students went on trips abroad for purposes such as touring or visiting family, a vast majority of the students stayed in Korea and spentthe two weeks studying. In the latter case, vacation does not feel like taking a break from studying, but rather intensifies it further through a busy hagwon schedule. The counselors recommend that while academic enrichment to a certain extent is beneficial, students should better utilize winter break to re-energize before the beginning of a new semester.

“Giving thanks is the primary purpose of many holidays toward the end of the year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Barbara Conant, High School Counselor. “Yet I think students forget about this aspect of the holidays, and hence are unable to fully appreciate the holidays that are celebrated worldwide. Winter break is a good time for students to reflect on their lives. They definitely do need a break from their studies as well.”

In our busy lifestyles at SIS, one can easily get caught up in the hasty pace of life and forget to think and reflect. In this aspect, winter vacation is the perfect opportunity to spend more quality time with family and invest time and effort into non-academic passions. Although doing so may seem to cause students to lag behind in the intense race to college, counselors remind students that mental health and having a good attitude are as equally important as academic excellence.

“During the year, there are times when I feel overwhelmed by the immense workload,” Bonny Minn (11) said. “In the midst of such stress, a hagwon-packed winter vacation leaves even more stress for me. I think it is necessary and beneficial to take some time to do what you are truly passionate about during winter break.For me, personally, doing so has resulted in less stress and better performance once the school year started.”

Here are some potential activities students may consider trying out over winter vacation: stitching, boxing, origami, a new sport, hiking, flower arranging, singing, and reading. It is important to do whatever you enjoy doing, not what anyone else tells you to do. At the end of the day, high school years will never come back, and thus the experience should consist of and be remembered as more than countless days of studying. This winter break, students should try something new, spend more time with family, and give thanks for the life they were privileged to enjoy.

“Students need a time to rest both physically and mentally, and winter break is the perfect time to do so,” said Christopher Thomson, High School Counselor. “Spending time on hobbies that students are usually too busy to do is one great way for students to recharge themselves. By doing so, students will be able to concentrate better on their studies when they return back to school.”