3 tips to prep for the spring semester:

1. Get up early: Get back to normal school sleep habits a little early by setting an alarm. It will make the first week of classes much smoother.

2. Read: Do something stimulating with your brain to stay sharp. Try reading a book. No, Facebook posts don't count as reading.

3. Take a break: Spend some time hanging out with friends and doing activities you don't have much time for during school.

Source: Karen Wyatt, academic skills specialist at CU

University of Colorado student Danielle Watkins-Green has spent the majority of her winter break lounging on her parents' couch in her childhood home, watching some of her favorite television shows from the '90s.

Episodes of "Saved by the Bell" and "Clarissa Explains it All" have created a perfect throwback break for the senior who said she plans to relax until the last day of winter break.

"I deserve this," she said. "I'm almost done with school and I didn't have much fun this semester."

Karen Wyatt, an academic skills specialist at CU, said students should not feel guilty about taking some time off between semesters, especially if they spent the fall juggling classes, work and extra curricular activities.

"Getting that break should be the No. 1 priority for students right now," Wyatt said. "They should go do the things they couldn't do over last couple of weeks, so when they come back they're not distracted, wishing they had done something they didn't do."


Since students have three weeks off between semesters, Wyatt said there are a few things students can do throughout the break to prepare for the spring semester.

Catching up on books or magazines is a good way for students to keep their minds sharp, without having to dive into textbooks too early, she said.

CU freshman Lindsay Marcus said she has been catching up on some reading during the break, which is a good way to "veg out," but still stay focused.

Wyatt said beginning an exercise regimen during winter break can help students stick to a plan once school does begin.

"The things you're doing during the break can start to create the habits and routines you'll have going into the semester," Wyatt said. "Even if you're not doing it the whole time, start a few days before classes begin."

Some students said they're spending the majority of break sleeping, which Wyatt said is fine -- until that 9 a.m. class rolls around.

Getting back into semester sleep patterns a few days before classes begin can help students adjust.

Marcus said she often tries to adjust her sleep patterns before a new semester starts.

"I will definitely get my sleep schedule together long before I have to go back," Marcus said. "The main reason I had issues with the workload (this fall) was because I was always so tired."

Watkins-Green said that with three winter break experiences under her belt, she feels confident that she will be ready to take on her last semester after a few weeks of rest. Taking it easy is the best thing a student can do to get ready for classes, she said.

"Enjoy the break," Watkins-Green said. "Hang out with your friends as much as you can, watch crappy TV like 'Jerry Springer,' eat and don't worry about the next semester. That's what the Sunday before school begins is for."

- Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.