With just a few weeks of classes and finals left in the semester, we’re all anxiously awaiting our summer respite. After a busy semester, a relaxing summer with family and friends is exactly what’s needed. It’s important to enjoy the break, but, for college students, the summer is the perfect time to plan ahead for the future. Check out this college edition of a summer bucket list for productive ways to spend your summer!
1. Take time to relax and recharge.
Giving yourself a break is so important. Classwork, finals and projects can weigh you down. Take time to do the things you enjoy to help reboot your mental, emotional and physical health. Spend time with family and friends, and take a vacation if given the opportunity.
2. Build your resume and portfolio.
If you don’t have one take some time to create a resume for yourself over the summer. If you do have a resume, revisit it. Consider switching up the layout, rewording descriptions and fixing any mistakes. Pull examples of your previous work into a digital or physical portfolio. Starting this collection now will make it much easier to provide examples to employers later. While you’re at it, pick up some side projects over the summer that can help you advance your skill set.
3. Set up a job shadow experience.
If you’re like most, you probably don’t know the exact positions you’re looking to apply for after college. Take time this summer to research your field of interest. Contact local companies or alumni from your college to get your questions answered and arrange a job shadow if possible. Job shadow experiences can provide you first-hand experience with the careers you’re considering.
Networking happens anywhere and everywhere. Talk to family members about their career history, or check in with high school friends to see what they’re up to. You never know which acquaintances may lead to a job or internship offer. Be prepared for career-oriented conversations by preparing a short overview of your studies, experiences and job interests. Simply communicating your goals to your family and friends will give them ideas about possible network connections.
5. Map out future semesters.
Planning out the classes you intend to take in future semesters can reduce some of the stress that comes with scheduling courses. Mapping out your courses will also help you see how much free space you’ll have in your schedule. This is super helpful if you’re considering studying abroad or applying to internships. After seeing how much time you have leftover, you can start thinking about adding on a minor.
6. Start paying back student loans.
Loan debt may seem far off into the distance, but paying back your loans will be much more manageable if you start now. Some loans include a grace period after graduation, while other loans begin accruing interest immediately. Start paying back the loans with the highest interest rates first. Even if it’s only a couple hundred dollars throughout the summer, every little bit helps. If you start paying off loans sooner rather than later, you’ll owe less interest and climb out of debt more quickly.
7. Get ahead on credits.
Summer is the perfect time to knock out some credits. Most schools have online and traditional classroom options available throughout the summer. See which courses are available and which ones work best for your academic goals. You may also be able to earn credits for traveling on short-term study abroad experiences, like earning digital photography credits while taking photos across Ireland.
In the midst of your relaxation, take some time to work toward your post-graduation goals this summer!