Summer break is right around the corner – and for a lucky few, it’s already here. After all the hard work you put in this semester, you’re likely thinking of going on adventures with your friends, partying at night clubs, seeking out a summer fling, or surfing at the nearest beach.
These are all great ways to spend the summer, but not necessarily the best ways to make the most of your time. Check out our recommendations for the top five ways to spend the summer holiday.
Travelling is a great way to spend time off from school. You can meet new people, experience different cultures, and maybe even learn a new language. If you think this is something only your wealthy, well-connected, or super-daring friends can do, then think again.
In 7 Tips for Balancing Work and School, we suggested working abroad as a great way for students to boost their income during the summer semester. Many colleges have programs in place for students looking to work abroad during this time.
Sure, it’s not as great an experience as an actual vacation, but it’s a hell of a lot better than staying home. Just imagine the valuable work experience you gain to help build your resume.
Paid work isn’t the only kind of experience your future employers will look out for. Volunteering also shows employers that money isn’t the only thing that motivates you – even if it is – and that you’re a team player, as few volunteer projects involve working alone.
Every summer for nine years, I volunteered at the nursing home owned by a family friend, helping with paperwork and doing routine IT maintenance. By the time I left college, this was the only real work experience I had.
When I first got called in for an interview at my first and only corporate job, HRM was impressed with my lengthy “tenure”. This ended up being the only reference they checked with, of the three I provided.
Find an Internship Program
Even more impressive than volunteering, is participating in internship programs. Internships offer current students and recent graduates the opportunity to get on-the-job training in the field or position they intend to work in. Many interns also later become permanent members of staff.
The more well-known the company, the more valuable the experience. Even if you only fetched coffee and stapled documents, imagine applying for a computer science job and pointing out that you did your internship at Google, Apple, or Samsung.
Internships for bigger companies are harder to get into, but someone has to get in, so why can’t it be you? Keep applying, and don’t worry about settling for your second-best, or the back-up intern plan, if it doesn’t work out. Sometimes a detour leads you down a much better road. Open yourself up to possibilities and unexpected opportunities.
After finishing up finals, this might be the last thing you want to consider, but taking classes during the summer can help you finish up your degree faster, by racking up more credits. It can also help to lighten the course load during the rest of the year.
As Benjamin Franklin once said:
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Chase Your Dreams
While summer is a great time to focus on and prepare for your future career, it’s also a great time to focus on your dreams, while turning them into goals.
Whether it’s writing a novel, finishing the Game of Thrones series, learning to surf, or finding that special someone, this is a great time to spend on dreams you don’t have time to pursue when class is in session – guilt free.
Pursue your passions.
Life is shorter than we think, and we might never realize this until it’s almost over. Don’t spend too much of it on the things you have to, at the expense of all the things you want to do. Strike a balance and work towards the life you’ve always dreamed of having.