Don’t Waste Your Summer

10 May

College students look forward to the summer for many reasons. Freedom and relaxation often top this list, and with good reason. Who wouldn’t enjoy three months of sleeping in late, spending time with friends, taking random road trips and living in an all around cornucopia of fun?  Although the summer is a break from school, it is not meant to be a break from your education. Too often, students view their summer as a vacation from responsibility, and in effect, waste their summer. Here are some ways that you can ensure that you are not wasting your summer:

1. Pursue Summer Internships/Learning Opportunities

When graduation rolls around and you’re applying for jobs, you’ll quickly be confronted with the reality that even entry-level positions are seeking candidates with a degree and 1-2 years of experience.

Internships will help you: A) Gain experience. B) Narrow your career and educational path. C) Develop your knowledge and skills within a given field. D) Establish connections and enhance your professional network.

2. Set Goals and Make Plans

We all need something to work towards. Otherwise, our work seems as if it were in vain. If you want to learn a language, develop a realistic practice schedule. If you want to prepare yourself for the job market, create a portfolio or start a blog about your field. Do things that make you stand out and show that you add value.

“Learn Spanish” is not a realistic goal, nor does it have a plan. Plans add accountability to your goals. Try something like: “Begin learning Spanish by completing 3 free lessons on Spanishdict.com each week.”

3. Read. Read. Read.

We live in an information based society. Every resource is available to you to become and remain current in your field. Books are cheaper than they’ve ever been with the advent of e-readers such as the Nook and the Kindle (which all have free software for the PC/Mac/Android/iPhone/iPad,etc…). Blogs are popping up for every industry imaginable.

Read books**, buy a Kindle or a Nook and download an RSS reader (such as Reeder or Fresh Feed) and get current in your field by subscribing to relevant blogs. Set a goal to read at least 3 books related to the career field that you’d like to pursue by the end of the summer. Also remember to make a plan for your reading goal.

**A great way to find out what books are “hot” in your industry is to check out the featured reading list on a popular blog within your industry. Another way is to visit the LinkedIn profiles of industry professionals, and look at their reading lists.

4. Prepare Yourself Professionally.

You’d be surprised by how many college students do not have a resume. You never know when a job or internship opportunity may arise. So be prepared. Spend this summer creating, revising, and sharpening your resume. Not sure where to start? While you’re at it, make sure that you develop your personal brand, using free services such as LinkedIn and http://www.About.me.

*Check out www.liberty.edu/careers and click on our link for resume assistance.

5. Relax and Enjoy Yourself.

All work and no play can leave you stressed out, burned out, and miserable. While the summertime is great for growing professionally and academically, it is also the best time to become a more interesting person. Personal development and professional development are extremely important practices. Invest in your hobbies, interests, and relationships. Every summer is a huge chapter in your life’s story. Don’t waste your summer. Don’t waste your life.

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