You have waited all year for this. Visions of lying out by the pool, or running on the beach play through your mind on an endless loop. You’ve studied hard, finals are over, and you are finally free for the summer! While it is great to get in some much needed rest and relaxation, there are a few things you can do to make sure that when school resumes you are in a better place than when it ended. College is a time to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible so that when you enter the workforce you can actually obtain a job. Perhaps over this summer you could do one of the following:1. Complete an internship. Working an internship is vital to being able to get a job once college is over. The real world experience and skills you will acquire in your chosen career field will be worth the few hours per week you must “give up” from your summer break. 2. Register for an elective. Instead of saying goodbye to school completely, the summer is a great time to complete an elective course or two. Electives are a part of every college’s degree requirements. Using electives over the summer is a great way to study something that interests you, outside of your major. Do you have an interest in photography, creative writing, astronomy, or Calculus (hey I’m sure Calculus is someone’s idea of a good time) then you can take a course in that subject as an elective. 3. Work a paying job. With the money you earn over the summer working either full or part-time you can get a lot accomplished. Not only will you gain more work experience to list on your resume, you will also be able to handle financial concerns. Do you still live with your parents, and don’t have many bills to pay? You can use your earnings to pay down the interest on your student loans. You can save the money to off-set the costs of books, clothing, and necessities for your dorm room when school begins again.4. Volunteer. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to donate your time to a cause you care about. Not only will you be making a difference in your community, but you will also gain professional experience. Just because you do not earn a paycheck, does not mean that the skills you acquire are worthless. 5. Research. No, not another research paper. Research the career you would like to have when you graduate. Read articles, books, and blog posts that talk about your future field. Research people who have the career you want. Do they all have a certain skill set, or certain types of experience? Look up job ads for the type of job you want after graduation. What are the requirements for those jobs? Is there something you can learn now to put you in a better position post-graduation?Request to shadow someone who is already doing the job you desire to have. To shadow means to spend the day with them and see exactly what their job entails. This is a great way to see if the career is right for you. After your research is complete you can evaluate if you are on the right path or if adjustments in your major, minor, internships etc. are needed. In addition to having fun and hanging out, summer is one of the best times of the year to learn, grow, and explore. Be sure to take maximum advantage of the time you have to improve your future. What are your plans for the summer? Share with us!
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