Summer Vacation: Use it While You Can

SO summer is nearly upon us. I’m sure that fact has not escaped you, or anyone on campus? What will you being doing this summer? Want some tips to have a more productive time?

Do research or take extra classes in your field. Did you really connect with a professor during the academic year? See if he or she needs any research assistants over the summer. Want to research your own theories? Apply for grant money to stay on campus. Think you might want to change your major or try out a minor? Take an extra class or two to see if it’s really what you want to do. Whatever you do, don’t forget everything you already know.


Improve your skills or gain a new skill
In the summer, we have a lot of time to improve skills we already have so we can prepare for the upcoming year and for our future. Challenge yourself this summer to take on a new skill or join a friend a make some sort of competition out of it. Learn to cook, or practice a foreign language. With the internet all things are possible.

Get an internship
This is the time to get on this. The longer you wait, the less will be out there. Even if some companies say they are not looking for internships, don’t be afraid to volunteer your services. An internship is a great way to gain additional knowledge and insight into your future career and also a great way to build your resume and portfolio and gain industry contacts. This will certainly come in handy when it is time to settle down for real work in a few years.

Get a job
We all need money over the summer for shopping, traveling and theme parks we want to visit. If you acquire an unpaid internship, it’s okay to get a side job to help you with some cash. Apply everywhere! Pick up the phone, yes the part that makes calls and doesn’t play games or shows you facebook, and start calling to ask about available positions. Internet searches and emails are good, but actually picking up the phone and getting answers is going to be the most beneficial to you. If you get a job, don’t be afraid to ask for responsibilities inside your major to help you gain additional skills. · Job openings on or near campus may be much better than your options back at home. Why not stay on campus, earn some extra money all while making some great contacts.

Traveling is probably a part of your summer anyways, but why not go somewhere new and experience something new? Grab a couple of friends and go to a new state to learn a few things. It’s a great way to have some fun, spend time with your friends and learn more about other states and their local culture. Having all summer off is a benefit that doesn’t last forever.

Many non-profits are fun places to work and they are always looking for additional help. Look around for a local soup kitchen, hospital, animal shelter, thrift store and more. It can be so much fun to volunteer at different places. You can volunteer in your home city, the city where your school is, or somewhere you’ve never been. You can volunteer in your home country or somewhere halfway across the globe if you’re feeling really ambitious. You can volunteer for a political campaign, for a religious organization, or for a social-justice based non-profit. The options are limitless!

Organize all your stuff
When we come home from college, think about how much stuff we have! I know my stuff accumulates throughout the year and I have a lot of junk I do not need. During the summer, go through all of your things before you drag unnecessary furniture and other items back to college that will take up room. You can even donate some of your things to your local shelter or thrift store and maybe even get some cash for some of your items.

Job shadow
If you are unable to get a job or get an internship this summer, it’s okay to call local places and businesses to see if you could job shadow for a day. Ask them if you can shadow a person whose responsibilities are similar to those you would want to do in your future career. It’s only for a day, but if you take notes and pay attention, you can really learn a lot in one day. You can also do this at several different places and even drop in somewhere when you are traveling.

Build your network
We all know the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While we all need experience, skills and knowledge, who you know can help you land an interview, get an internship, allow you to travel, allow you to shadow for a day and even more.  I reach out to people I’ve met and networked with online every day and they are some of my closest friends and people I turn to first when I have questions and issues. Get into Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging, YouTube, Facebook and more and start meeting people and actually engaging in conversation.


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