How to Use Your Summer to Get Ahead
The stress of finals has gradually faded into the rear view mirror, and summer has begin. Although some students are taking summer school and some are going to be working full time jobs and internship others have strategically planned these next few months in order to do as little as possible. Although relaxation and recuperation are important parts of any summer break, it’s important that you don’t waste it. Summer is one of the best times as a student to get ahead of the game for the long semesters, and a great time to improve your “soft skills” that are immensely important in your eventual job search and your future. Before you know it, August will be here again, and you will be (say it isn’t so) excited to come back to campus and begin the academic lifestyle all over again. So sit back, relax, and kick your feet up a bit, but take some time to be productive too. Here are seven suggestions as to how to not waste your summer.
- Make yourself a plan. As it is said, if you are not planning, you are planning to fail. As unnecessary and overbearing as it may sound, one of the best things that you can do for yourself over the summer is take a couple of hours and plan out your time. This doesn’t have to be a minute-to-minute agenda like you would use in the academic year, but at least sketch out your big priorities. Set some goals for yourself, and set aside some consistent time to work toward those goals. If you would like to read some classic books, set aside some reading time each day, if you’d like to get in shape, plan when you will work out. The first step is that simple!
- Find someone to keep you accountable. When you find someone to keep you accountable, your likelihood of actually falling through with your plans shoots through the roof! Find a friend from your hometown, a friend from school who lives in your area, or even a family member. Tell them your summer plan and ask them to keep you accountable to it.
- Find a community college and audit a class. One of the most helpful things that you can do over the summer to advance your academic career is to find a community college in your area that will allow you to audit a class in your major area. This is especially helpful for difficult classes like Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus. Auditing allows you to sit in on the lectures and even complete assignments, but without the pressure of grading. It is also *much* cheaper than paying tuition.
- Learn a new skill from Lynda. The Texas Tech library is an awesome resource for those who don’t want to waste their summer. Recently, they opened up many of their resources to students who are accessing their webpage from off campus. Lynda is one of these resources. It is essentially an online library of “how-tos” and instructional videos that will teach you to do just about anything that you could imagine, from welding to Photoshop to business management skills. It’s a great way to add a skill to your resume while you are out of school. Give it a try!
- Start a Fitness Routine. One of the best things that students can do over the summer is get in shape. There are plenty of great apps out there that can create a training plan for anyone who wants to get in shape during the time that they are not in classes. One of these is Lift. RunKeeper is another great option. It even has options for training for a 5k and running for weight loss. Many times, gyms will offer summer memberships at reduced prices, and if there is a college in your hometown, look into a temporary membership at their gym!
- Read a good book (or several). This should be self-explanatory, but take some time to look through a list like this one and read a couple of them over the break. There is almost nothing like a good book to change your outlook on life, and give you an escape on a hot summer day. It’s also been shown many times over that those who perform the highest on standardized exams, and even those who gain the most success in their careers, are those who are the most voracious readers.
- Volunteer. Find a service organization that you are passionate about, and spend a few hours per week volunteering. It’s a great resumé builder, and a great self-esteem boost! Here are some examples to get you started.
By no means should you expect yourself to do all of these things over this summer, but try to do at least two or three. Before you know it, you will be in the car or on the plane back to Lubbock, and the Fall will be upon us. Don’t waste it!