Thursday, April 11, 2013

Maximizing Your Time Off School

So the summer's almost here and you cannot wait to write your last exam or finish that final paper and get that golden ticket that is freedom for the next four months.

Well, hold on. Rewind. Summer means different things for different people. Let's explore some ways you can make the most of your summer depending on what your future goals look like. Let me tell you a little about what I mean.

Let's take myself for instance. I am graduating, and this summer I want to have a nice, relaxing, non-stressful four months at home to myself before I begin graduate studies. For me this means 1-2 part time jobs to get some income, and then spending the rest of my time doing whatever I want. This isn't going to work for everyone.

Here are some things to take into consideration when you're planning your summer: 
  • Employment. Some folks want 40 hours a week for 4 months straight. Hey, if that works for you that's just fine. For some people, this is the ultimate opportunity to make money so they can focus on their studies when Fall rolls around again. Other students may want to take a job that perhaps pays less (or not at all!) that is more related to their field, and take on other, unrelated work on the side. Maybe this is worth it to you - maybe you're applying for graduate school and need that field experience. You choose!
  • Vacation. Yup, I said it. There are people who prioritize vacation time for their summer break. And sometimes that is much needed after the stress and exhaustion of the school year. However, also consider trips that involve internships or volunteer work; these, unlike your week on the beach in Cuba, can add to your resume!
  • Professional Development. Maybe this is the perfect time to get your First Aid certificate re-certified or spend time really researching and getting to know the industry you'd like to work for. Take advantage of any events or workshops that come your way!
  • Education. Okay, so the last thing some people want to do in the summer is take classes. But really, with the variety of short-term, online, and in-class versions of summer courses available you may consider it valuable to get ahead in your studies. You may thank yourself when September arrives.
  • Develop new skills/hobbies. If you have some free time on your hands, why not learn something new? Try out a new sport, get involved in your community, learn to cook...the options are endless. If you want to develop some professional skills, why not revamp your social media accounts?
As you can see, there are many ways to maximize your time off school this summer. Whatever you choose to do to fill your time, make sure to consider what kind of things you're looking to get out of your time off. Is it money? Experience? Something else? Asking these questions will surely help you decide.

Here's to a great (and productive) summer!
- Lead Career Assistant


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