Preparing for Winter Break

November 2015

Finals are just around the corner, and then before you know it your student will be home for the winter break.

Congratulations! As your student prepares to spend some time away from campus over the winter break, here's what you can help your students do at home while they are on break.  Your home community is full of opportunities! Have a joyous holiday season and a restful winter break.


Job shadowing (or clinical observation) is a great way for your student to learn more about a particular occupation. Most Shadows involve spending a full day or part of a day with a professional at his/her place of work observing what a typical day entails. Shadows also give your student an opportunity to ask specific questions they may have about a particular occupation, and may help your student expand their professional network of contacts. Shadows also are particularly useful if your student is undecided about a major or potential career options that may evolve from a major.  For more information about shadowing, click here.


Shadowing is just one type of networking. You may also want to consider informational interviews. Informational interviewing is the process of gathering career information from people who are already working in target occupations, organizations, or geographic locations. Both the content of the information and the process of gathering it will help your student to refine their goals and possibly discover some new ones. Informational interviews can happen in person, over the phone, or through e-mail. If conducted in-person, these interviews usually last about 20 minutes. and can help your student both gain information and network.For more information about networking, visit the Professional & Career Development networking page at:


Setting up a short-term volunteer experience while at home is a great opportunity for your student to serve the local community, enhance their resume and personal brand, and enhance their learning experience.  Below is a list of questions your student may want to ask the community agency they are interested in serving, as well as suggestions to help them in the process.

  • Contact the agency before break begins to see what opportunities may be available
  • Send a resume - it will help the agency determine the best fit 
  • Research different service opportunities through websites such as or local United Way
  • Find a time to speak on the phone or send an email to the volunteer coordinator or main contact for the organization    


  • Who can I contact if I have a question about volunteering or setting up a short term experience?
  • Do you have any programs I can volunteer with during the evening or on the weekend (or whatever time you are available during the break)?
  • Does your organization require a background check, certification (such as CPR), or application prior to beginning?
  • Do you require volunteer training?
  • I have sent my resume to your organization. Do you have any opportunities in which my skill sets can benefit your organization during a short term project?
  • Do you have any projects that could be completed remotely after the short term at home program is done?
  • Is it possible for me to continue this work when I return to Drake University?
  • Is there anything I should be aware of as far as the logistics of your organizational structure or location that would be relevant to the short term project (I.e. Executive Director works remotely and programming happens in a rented space or only street parking is available for volunteers)?

The Office of Community Engagement and Service-Learning, Professional and Career Development services, and Academic Excellence and Student Success are all great resources as your student seeks to maximize the long winter break.

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University News
January 9, 2018
The Drake University 2018 Engaged Citizen Conference, “Nourishing (Feeding) the World,” is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 22, and Friday,  Feb. 23 in Drake’s Olmsted Center. Admission is free.