Summer vacation is coming soon, and while we can all use a much-needed break from a long hard school year, you can also consider making the most of your vacation by doing something that will have a significant impact on your school career, or even on the rest of your life.
Kicking back to relax, or taking a trip to someplace fun, are good ideas. But along the way you may be able to add some activities that can made a real difference in your life.
Look into one or more of the following:
Building Work Experience Related to Your Degree
There’s nothing like hands-on experience in the real world to give you a stronger perspective on your university major. If you can find a summer job that is related to your major, it can answer some of the questions that you may have about the field from a professional standpoint.Even if you can’t get a job that is exactly what you will be doing in your post graduation career, getting one that’s even related can help. The experience can provide relevance to your schoolwork, and help you to understand what’s important and what’s not.
Some other areas where a related work experience may help include:
- Learning how to function in a “nine-to-five” job – it’s unlike what you may have seen in part-time jobs, and it’s certainly not what you’ve experienced in school.
- Seeing what skills that may be typical for the career or industry you plan to enter.
- Getting job references – this can be beneficial even if the job is not directly related to the work you’ll be doing after graduation.
- Building up more credibility with your professors – as a person who’s been on the “inside”, you might start appearing as a more serious student.
- Any cash that you earn along the way certainly won’t hurt in the next school year.
Speaking of which…
Saving Up Money For Next School Year
Any amount of money that you can earn during the summer months will make your next school year financially easier, as well as reduce your reliance on loans or on the Bank of Mom and Dad.
Even if you only earn enough money to provide yourself with pocket money for the next school year, that can make a big difference. It might even eliminate the need to hold a part-time job while you’re in school.
You may also want to consider using the summer months to work so that you can begin saving money for a major activity, such as a much needed trip over the winter holidays, or during spring break. Working during the summer, and saving your money, will enable you to have the money in advance, but you won’t need to concern yourself with it while you were in school.
If you to take a job to save up money for the school year, just make sure that you save for that purpose, and you don’t end up spending most of it for summer activities – it’s easy to do.
Taking a Life Changing Summer Vacation
Have you ever thought about taking a summer vacation that will be more than just having fun? I’m talking about a more serious vacation, one that has potential to be life-changing. Taking such a trip during your university years can have an especially big impact, since it is happening at a time when you are already preparing for the rest of your life, and you can incorporate any new revelations you experience in your plans going forward.
This can include a mission trip to a Third World country, doing volunteer work in depressed or environmentally damaged area (think areas hit by earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis). This summer could be your chance to do your bit to help people who are seriously in need. No it may not be “fun”, and it certainly won’t put any money in your pocket, but you will come away with an entirely different perspective, one that can change your outlook the rest of your life.
There’s also a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with helping people in need. They also help you to learn that your own life is a lot better than you ever imagined. You may come back to school motivated and re-energized in a way that you never thought possible.
Learning a Skill that Will Help You With School or at Graduation
Every career field you can imagine has skills that are specific to that field or industry. Having that skill at graduation could help you to land a job, but it can also help you to acquire one that pays better than you expected. Summer vacation is an excellent time to acquire such skills, that way you’ll have them ready and listed in your resume by the time you graduate.
How do you know what skills you should have? Do some the research on the field so you can find out what skills are considered critical in the industry. If you have contacts in the field, especially a mentor, you can check around with any of those people. If you keep seeing the same skills coming up from everyone you talk to, you’ll know that it’s important. You can also check the classified ads or the job boards and see what skills are routinely being required jobs the field.
As an example, if you’re going into the accounting field, you’ll probably find that skills and programs like Excel and QuickBooks are in high demand. Virtually every career field will have parallel skills that will be required or highly desirable.
Never assume that your degree will provide you with all the skills and information and you need to enter the job market. There may be one or more skills that are considered vital, that are not taught in school. You can use your time over this coming vacation to get that skill. That will improve your ability get a job, and more confidence in your ability to do the job.