You’ve finished all your term projects, aced all those finals (hopefully), and packed up the last of your belongings from your dorm room. All that hard work this past semester has taken its toll, and now it’s time for a much deserved break. Summer break is upon us and images of sitting on the beach, catching up with friends, and soaking up the sun all come to mind. But what gaining experiences that further our potential to become more marketable to employers?! Didn’t think so.
This summer, find the perfect balance of learning more about your field of study, getting work experience, while also enjoying your downtime. Let go of the stress from the academic year for the next few months and do what will benefit and advance your unique career path.
Here are the 10 things every college student should do this summer:
1. Learn a new skill to add to your resume
By learning a new skill, not only can you impress future employers, but it can also make you more marketable when you go on the job hunt. Search for industry wide programs commonly used in your field of study such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, as well as Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, or even a programming language, depending on what career you want to pursue.
2. Get an internship
If you’re going into your junior or senior year of college, find a great internship that can further your experience and knowledge of your industry. With a summer internship you’ll gain insight into your field of study and also beef up your resume. Still undecided about your career path? An internship is a great way to help you explore different career options before you dive into the job market.
— State U of New York (@SUNY) May 12, 2014
3. Work a summer job
If you’re not interning this summer, there’s no denying you can still find work experience and build your resume with a summer job near your home. Call up your old boss from your part-time job in high school or search your town for places trying to fill a position. Whether you’re working as a lifeguard or in food service, employers want to see that you have experience in a work environment and are responsible. Plus, you’ll have some extra money in your pocket.
4. Make a budget
Now that you’ve earned all this money, what do to with it? Spend it all on a shopping spree? Buy a new iPad? Whoa, take is easy. Make a budget for the next semester so you can keep track of your spending. Set a spending limit each month for food, rent, transportation, school supplies, entertainment, and other expenses. Talk with your parents about your financial situation and consider getting a credit card if you don’t have one already.
5. Email your professors
In the beginning of the summer, take the time to send out a few thank you emails to your professors. Think about it- your professors are all industry professionals, have extensive knowledge of potential careers, and can even be your connection to a future job, so why not send them an email this summer? A simple email can leave a great lasting impression of you.
6. Get letters of recommendation
Having an impressive letter of recommendation (or a few) is super beneficial, and sometimes required, when submitting a job application. Get your recommendations in order this summer by asking past professors of classes you excelled in or previous employers to put your accomplishments, character, and work ethic into words. A great letter of recommendation is both personal and could showcase your talents that can’t be inferred from a resume.
7. Catch up on reading
Unwind after a long day by sitting down with a good book. Pick out a New York Times Best Seller, an old classic, or a how-to book to open your mind and learn something new. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to catch up on some reading for one of your classes next semester. Could use some ideas? Check out this list of our ‘must-read’ books!
8. Explore New York!
Don’t have plans of going on a big, lavish vacation this summer? No problem at all. The State of New York has such a diverse landscape, there’s no need to travel far to find excitement. Hike the Adirondack Mountains, go fishing in the Finger Lakes, attend a music festival, or spend the day in New York City- you’re sure to find something out of the daily routine.
9. Take an online summer course
Low cost, convenience, and no commute- what’s not great about taking an online course this summer? Plus, you’ll be able to get ahead, lessen your workload for next semester, and even get on track to graduate on time. Through Open SUNY, you have access to over 5,000 SUNY courses offered this summer alone.
10. Follow SUNY and SUNYsocial on social media!
Stay updated with the latest on campus news, student life, and advice from college students on how to make the most out of your college experience. We’re always here to chat and answer your questions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
Which SUNY mascot are you? Take our quiz to find out!
— SUNYsocial (@SUNYsocial) May 14, 2014
Top photo via Stony Brook University on Flickr
Olivia is a former student assistant in the Office of New Media for the State University of New York. She is an undergraduate direct and interactive marketing major with a minor in economics at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, NY.