Six steps to your best summer ever!
It’s one of the best feelings in the world. Schools out for summer and three months of freedom lay ahead of you. But, with so much time suddenly at your disposal, it’s all too easily wasted. Think back, how many times have your plans for a summer of self-discovery and development been quickly forgotten in favour of Netflix binging and drinking sessions with friends?
It’s easy to take the summer break for granted, after all it’s been an annual fixture in your life since age five. But, come 18 you will likely have just three summer breaks left before you enter the world of work and find your holidays cut to just 20 days a year. It sucks, we know! So, it stands to reason that you should make the most of your student summers now, and we’re here to help!
We’ve put together six simple steps that’ll reduce future regrets, improve your university experience and ease the inevitable transition from student to graduate.
1. Broaden your horizons
Who doesn’t love experiencing new cultures, trying new foods and making lifelong friends from all over the world? Travelling is often a life-changing and empowering experience. It broadens the mind, boosts self-confidence and teaches us more about who we are and what we want.
We’re pretty sure we don’t need to sell you on this one, but we’d encourage you to travel as much as possible and most importantly to do it NOW! It will be a whole lot harder to do that month-long trip around Asia once you start your career, unless of course you’re willing to use your entire holiday allowance in one hit. That’s assuming your boss will even sign off that amount of time in the first place!
Whether it’s building houses in Guatemala, helping your local charity, or joining a listening service, volunteering not only looks great on your CV but makes you feel good too. What’s more, while you might not be paid for your time, you WILL gain experience, self-confidence and transferable skills, all of which will benefit your future career.
3. A career test drive
At 18 graduation and the 9-5 world still seem impossibly far off. But it will come around FAST! Spending a few weeks of your precious summer working in industry may not exactly fill you with excitement, but there are so many reasons you should do a work placement.
For starters, the graduate job market is tough! A relevant work placement not only looks great on your CV, but might just make you some valuable connections along the way, giving you a jumpstart on the competition, plus you’ll have real life experiences to draw on in interviews.
But work placements are not only helpful in setting you out on your career path but also in showing you if you’re headed in the wrong direction. Say you’ve always dreamt of being an architect, but faced with the reality of the job you quickly realise it’s not the career for you. Isn’t it better to find out now than to spend 7 years studying, only to discover you made the wrong decision? Consider your work placement as the ultimate career test drive, an opportunity to try before you buy.
4. Expand your mind
How many times have you vowed to learn a new skill, or improve your knowledge of a subject only to decided it’s too hard and time consuming? Well, the summer is the perfect time to learn! Commit to just 60 minutes a day and come September you’ll have clocked up over 80 hours, putting you well on your way to learning that new language, musical instrument or sport. It doesn’t have to be boring either! Get out and meet other like-minded people. Join a class or a meetup group, attend a TED talk with friends. Dedicate just 1 hour a day to expanding your mind and you’ll be surprised by not just what you can achieve, but also what you learn about yourself.
5. Get ahead
We’re not suggesting you become tutors pet but a bit of swotting up over the summer will definitely work to your advantage. Take a look at next year’s syllabus and spend an hour every other day cluing yourself up on the material. By the time term starts you’ll be ahead of the class, impressing your tutors and less stressed once the assignments start piling up.
If you’re going into third year think about making at start on your dissertation. It will be your single biggest source of stress in the coming year, but if you can make a good dent in it now you stand a good chance of holding on to your sanity!
6. Push your boundaries. Break your barriers
Challenge yourself to try something new every day, something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Take a class you’d ordinarily never consider. Go analogue for a whole day. Strike up a conversation with a stranger or let yourself get lost on purpose. The more you try the more you’ll learn about yourself.