Summer break is nearly upon us. Have you made plans already or are you too busy studying to think past finals week? Too many students spend their summer break playing video games, watching television, or browsing the web. After the summer is over what have those students gained? Perhaps a few friends, a higher level on their favorite game, and a larger number of Facebook updates. Are those results really worth your entire summer? Obviously, there are better ways to spend your summer. Here I will explain nine great ways to spend your summer productively.
- Apply For Scholarships – Summer is a great time to apply for scholarships. You probably will not have regular school, so you will have free time to write scholarship essays and applications. Even if you have a summer job or are completing summer courses, you still will have some free time during the evenings and on Saturday. When you are applying for scholarships, be careful to avoid scholarship scams – they can steal your time and money.
- Read a Book – It has been said that, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Although this saying is not entirely true, reading clearly is an important activity. Reading can exercise your mind, build your perspective, and perfect your writing skills. However, what you read is extremely important! If one reads wicked or badly-written books, his mind will become lazy, his perspective skewed, and his writing skills will be damaged. Therefore, you need to be very careful what books you read. To gain a competitive edge in college, I would encourage students to read books such as How To Go To College (Almost) For Free or Accelerated Distance Learning. These books may not be as enjoyable as a fictional novel, but they are much more profitable.
- Get A Job – This is one of the more obvious activities that you can complete during summer break. A summer job is a great way to earn money while networking and building your reputation. When looking for jobs, ask your friends, family, and professors. Chances are, one of them will know someone who is looking for a summer worker. In addition, if you do not have time for a full-time summer job, you can at least try to find a part-time job. Either way, you will be able to earn some money and build your resume.
- Participate in Recreation – Another great way to spend part of your summer is recreation. Go outside, ride a bicycle, play a team sport, go hiking, or participate in some other type of outdoor activity. These activities not only help you get exercise and learn new skills, but they also make excellent examples when you are working on your scholarship applications. In addition, depending the sport, outdoor recreation is a great time to make new friends and network.
- Work in an Internship – An internship is different from a job in many ways. First, an internship is often easier to get than a job. In addition, most college students can get an internship in their desired field, but they can only get jobs as clerks or waiters. To get a job in your desired career path, you really must know your field. Interns, on the other hand, are given more time to learn. If you work and learn well, internships often lead to long-term jobs. An internship is also a great way to gain invaluable on-the-job experience. Finally, because of all the information that you will learn, an internship can also be used to gain college credit through credit equivalency programs.
- Find a Hobby – Summer is a good time to find a new hobby or work on an old one. During the “school year” most hobbies have to be stopped. Starting again during summer break can be useful for many reasons. First, it can give you valuable experience in a certain field. For example, the hobby of ham radio helps you gain a new perspective on electronics. In addition, applicable hobbies look good on your application whether you are applying for college, a scholarship, or a even a job. However, notice I said “applicable hobbies”. Make sure that the hobby is related to the job/scholarship/college at which you are applying.
- Study Abroad – Studying abroad is another useful way to spend your summer vacation. Studying in a foreign country is an opportunity that few college students avail themselves of. Among other things, studying abroad can help you learn a language, make new friends, and gain a new perspective on foreign culture. In addition, because so few students do it, studying abroad can give you a competitive edge that is advantageous in many career paths. However, foreign study, like any travel, can be very expensive – watch carefully for ways to cut your costs.
- Start a Small Business – Because you do not have much school to work on, summer break is an excellent time to start a small business. College students have many options for small businesses. You can make an online business or an offline business. You can make a product, complete a service, or promote a product produced by someone else. Starting a business helps you make money, perfect your communication skills, and become more responsible. I have run a couple of businesses including a curb painting business (painting house numbers on curbs), a greeting card business (Cheery Arts), and a lawn care business.
- Start a Blog – Believe it or not, a well-done blog can actually help you in many ways. Most obviously, you can make money from it. However, blogging is not an easy way to make money. For example, this blog only makes my about $100 a month right now. The real advantages of blogging come from the improved communication skills, the new people you meet, and the ideas you learn. However, blogging can help you make money indirectly. For example, you can use your blogging experiences to make your scholarship applications better, and many job recruiters will see your blog as an advantage! If you do start blogging, I would highly suggest reading ProBlogger.net – it is my favorite blog about blogging professionally.
How do you plan to spend your summer break?
Picture by Nicholas T