As exam season draws to a close, British students can now enjoy the thought of a long summer stretching out ahead of them. And by ‘long’ I don’t mean a 6 week school holiday, I mean a whopping 4 month long break; that’s a third of a year! Unless you take a sabbatical or become unemployed for a while, you might not get four months off again until you retire. On top of this, employers know full well how long students get off for summer, so if there are pieces of tumbleweed floating across your CV over the few years you’ve been at uni, they may wonder why you didn’t make the most of your time. If you still haven’t sorted out what you’re doing with your summer, fear not, it’s not too late to decide!
This is the obvious one, but it really is one of the best ways to spend your summer. If you’re an average student I’m gonna take a wild guess and say you’re not exactly rolling in it, plus having worked a part-time job over the summer is always good for your CV and for drawing upon in those beastly ‘give an example of a time when…’ questions in future interviews. It’s probably too late to apply for internships (though it’s worth checking your university’s careers site just in case), but for part-time summer work now is a perfect time to apply.
Having the chance to see the world won’t suddenly stop once you’ve graduated, but there is still no better time to travel than with a bunch of mates during one of the long summer breaks. Interrailing around Europe or back-packing somewhere further afield is something you’ll always remember and something that many real adults say they wish they’d done while they were young. Make sure this isn’t you and go travelling this summer!
If you can manage not to be earning over the summer, then volunteering offers a whole new bunch of opportunities, and is great if you only want to give up a couple of hours a week. Again, it may be too late to apply for a once in a life time trip to build or teach in third world countries, but working at your local old people’s home, food bank or charity shop can be really fulfilling and will still look good to future employers. Volunteering can also be balanced with a part-time job, so if you’re the type who gets bored doing next-to-nothing at home, why not fill up your time by giving back?
I don’t suggest you spend the whole 4 months on a Netflix marathon, but giving yourself some well earned down-time is also a good shout. You’ve got decades ahead of you of full-time work, and having the odd week where you have nothing planned but lazing around the house will be few and far between. Remember to put your life in perspective and take the opportunity to at least spend some of your summer doing nothing, especially just after exams – it’ll do you good!
Prepare for Next Year
Make your life easier next year by doing some of the reading before you go back, or researching around one of your modules in advance if you’re particularly interested in it. If you’re about to go into your final year, no doubt you will wish you had used your summer more wisely if you rack up in September having not given your dissertation a thought. Instead of seeing it as a chore, try and remember that this could be your last chance to spend your spare time learning, before life and work and responsibilities get in the way. We might not believe it now, but we’ll probably miss it when our degrees are a distant memory.
If you’ve already finished exams then congrats! I hope you all have an awesome summer however you choose to spend it!