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Ways your student can make the most of Winter Break

Finals are just around the corner, and then before you know it your student will have completed their first semester here at Drake University! As students prepare to spend some time away from campus over the winter break, here are a few suggestions for ways students can enhance their academic success and continue learning outside the classroom walls. Their home community is full of opportunities! Wishing you a joyous holiday season with your family.

Find a job shadowing opportunity
Job Shadowing (or clinical observation) is a great way for students 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 an opportunity to ask specific questions they may have about a particular occupation, and may help expand their professional network of contacts. Shadows are particularly useful if students are undecided about their major or potential career options that may evolve from their major. For more information about shadowing, click here.

Conduct informational interviews
Shadowing is just one type of networking. Students 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 to refine goals and possibly discover some new ones. Informational interviews can happen in person, over the phone, or through e-mail. In-person, these interviews usually last about 20 minutes. There are two main reasons to conduct an informational interview, to gain information and to network. For more information about networking, visit the Professional & Career Development networking page.

Find a volunteer opportunity
Setting up a short-term volunteer experience while at home is a great opportunity to serve the local community and advance learning experience. Below is a list of questions they may want to ask the community agency they are interested in serving, as well as suggestions to help in the process.


  • Contact the agency before break begins to see what opportunities may be available.
  • Send a copy of their 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.

Questions for student to ask the Agency:

  • 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)?


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