Though you can still use summer break for long afternoons of sleeping and spontaneous trips to the beach, the adult world has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for you. (So, try to save the sleeping for the weekend.)
This summer, use your time and resources to do something extraordinary.
Land that Internship
Using the summer to intern is a great way to gain valuable work experience, make industry connections, learn more about your potential career path and bolster your résumé.
Not to mention, there are the perks, like money—or at least a free lunch.
If your internship is unpaid, look into scholarships your school might offer to help you along. Also, make sure to research available internship courses, as your university or internship program may require one.
Find an internship that aligns with your interests and has a company culture you admire. Working alongside people you enjoy, and in an environment that invigorates you, is key to success in any internship.
A few tips:
1. Do your research. Figure out what you want to do and why.
2. Prepare for interviews. Be knowledge about the company and come with questions.
3. Be passionate and confident. Distinguish yourself from all the brainiacs.
Get a Part or Full-Time Job
If you’re usually strapped for cash during the school year, a paying job during the summer isn’t such a bad idea. You can work part time or full time, depending on what else you have going on during the summer.
Finding a job during the summer can be as hard as finding a paying internship, as you’re competing with high school students out for the summer and the regular work force. This means you can’t be lazy—hit the pavement and visit every retail store, restaurant, fast-food joint, etc. and hand out your résumé.
Some establishments, though, don’t like hiring college students during the summer, especially if they’re looking for a permanent employee. The only way to get around that is hope that they don’t ask you about college, or you can let the hiring manager know that you would be interested in continuing working at the establishment as a part-time worker once school picks up again.
Or, look for a seasonal job. For instance, some water parks are only open during the summer, so college students make the perfect employees!
Use job-hunting sites, like Craigslist, to find the perfect summer job for you.
Travel the World
Traveling will not only teach you about the world around you, it will teach you about yourself.
Immerse yourself in a new country and language, and challenge yourself to overcome personal and culture obstacles. Perhaps you can’t study abroad during the fall or spring semesters or you want to discover new cultures—taking the time to travel is a worthwhile way to spend your summer.
Many colleges and universities offer their students a variety of travel programs that will not only give you the opportunity to travel, but also complete units towards your major or minor. This is a great way to travel and maintain an academic mindset over the summer months.
Summer programs such as these are typically short-term programs and can be particularly useful for students who can’t fit studying abroad in otherwise, or aren’t quite ready to do an entire semester abroad.
Another great way to travel is to do philanthropy work. Make sure that you are supporting a cause that you believe in before you embark on this mission, and that the area is one in which you feel safe. Doing philanthropy work abroad is a fantastic opportunity to give back, while learning about the world. It’ll also look great on your résumé.
The last thing you may want to do after your finals in May or June is go straight to summer school. But look on the bright side: taking some classes at your local community college could get some of those pesky general education classes out of the way!
By taking classes over the summer, you can guarantee more time for yourself over the fall and spring semesters. This means you can take extra classes that you’ve always wanted to take or leave room in your schedule to intern.
Going to summer school opens up a wealth of opportunities and should be looked at as a positive, not a negative.
Just Have Fun!
If you have (or had) a lot on your plate in the fall and spring semesters, taking some time for yourself over the summer isn’t a bad idea either.
Here are a few ways to make the most of your summer:
-Explore your city. Try new restaurants and bars, hit the tourist destinations, find cool, up-and-coming areas and go to museums.
-Experience the outdoors. Go camping and hiking, boating and biking, and just be athletic.
-Get in shape. Maybe you’ve gained the Freshman (or Sophomore, Junior and Senior) 15—don't be ashamed, it happens! Dedicate this summer to getting back in the healthy shape you prefer. Try a new summer workout class, look up summer boot camps in your neighborhood, or try something new, like pole dancing or hot yoga. Groupon usually has some neat workout deals that last for a few weeks or even months.
-Read books that you actually want to read, or never actually read during the semester. Goodbye, textbooks!
-Visit some amusement parks. Go to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags and more. It’s worth the investment to have fun with your family and friends
-Plan a road trip. Maybe you’ve seen the world, but haven’t seen much of the U.S. Channel your inner Jack Kerouac, and hit the road!
*Sydney Champion contributed to this story.