What do I do with my summer?

Travelling – just one way to spend your free time this summer

The end of exams is upon us, and with summer on the horizon the words on everyone’s lips are “so, what are you doing over the holidays?”

With students’ career aspirations looking a little doom and gloom as of late, surely the best way to spend your library-free days will be to embark on some activities to boost your chances of finding a job post-graduation?

Whether it’s a part-time job, volunteering, an internship or travelling, how you spend your summer can have a big impact on your job prospects -so be sure not to waste this one. If you’re just finishing your A-Levels or nearing graduation, the three months between academic years can be a God-send.

A seasonal job, aside from being a key money-maker for when that student loan starts drying up halfway through next term, is a great way to learn key skills for the workplace. Whether it’s relevant to your career path or not, transferable skills such as customer service and admin related work can apply to all walks of life. It also shows potential employers you are reliable and responsible, and have taken the initiative with the free time you’ve got.

For those of us with a bit of spare cash, travelling is definitely high up on the list of things to fill the summer vacation with. Backpacking through tropical rainforests and making your way through foreign airports provide vital life skills you just won’t get anywhere else. Better still, volunteering abroad or taking part in a study programme not only will give you a fulfilling experience you’ll never forget, but will enhance your employability and show your versatility as an individual.

Work experience and internships, though, are surely the most valuable way to spend your summer -especially given the current economic climate. With three months to spare and most companies throwing out just a week, there are plenty of places that can use a spare hand. As long as you come in with ideas, enthusiasm and don’t spend the week on Facebook, you can gain valuable insights into companies, develop skills for the future and gain an extra line on the CV too.

So, which to choose? Like many, I faced the predicament of an unpaid internship or returning to my seasonal full-time work. Instead of chucking one in over the other, however, I am determined to complete my internship whilst working part-time at weekends, so as not to spend all my savings scribbling away for a magazine. I’ll also be packing in a trip to Scotland with the family and pottering around London with friends. A healthy mix, I feel.

Whatever you choose to do this summer, make it count. However, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy not having to do your seminar reading or prepare for that lab; enjoy some of your free time. If you ever want to see such a long summer again, you’re going to have no choice but to become a teacher.

Written for The National Student, original post here.

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Filed under Careers, Travel, Work Experience

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