by Victoria Price, 2015 AgCareers.com Marketing Intern
“A summer is only as productive or unproductive as you make it,” said Megan Grant, a sophomore at the University of Florida (UF). If you aren’t interning, as is typical for many college students during the summer, there are still many options to make your summer productive and beneficial for your future.
Work a summer job to save and make money while gaining work experience. Food, retail, summer camps, or any job involving customer service provides valuable skills for any career. People skills will make you stand out as a candidate. Alexandra Steele, a junior at UF, has worked different jobs each summer since high school. “I think they have been very beneficial because even though they haven’t been something that I’d want to make a career out of, these jobs have taught me life skills and good work ethic for the future,” she said. “They helped me narrow down my decisions on my career path.”
Take summer classes to get ahead or take some extra time to do well in a challenging course. For students in the STEM field, this is a great option in the summer to focus on courses that would be tougher to balance in the fall or spring. Summer school also allows students to remain active in school organizations and help recruit incoming freshman. Haley Shavemaker, a sophomore at UF, said that she is ahead of schedule with her courses. She can now have a lighter course load for the fall and spring semesters and pursue and enjoy more college activities.
Take a Break. Read a good book or start that series of books you have wanted to read. Spend time with family and take advantage of living near them while you still can. Learn how to cook, or maybe learn how to make your grandma’s meatballs. If you are a student and spend the entire academic year in school, sometimes taking a break is a good idea so you can be ready and excited to begin classes again. Nicole Schimerowski, a senior at Iowa State University said, “I was working a part time job and had a lot of free time, so I think that helped when the school year came around because I wanted to be busy again.”
Travel or study abroad. Whether you study or not, traveling to another country immerses you in a new culture and offers transferable skills to highlight on a resume and use in your future career. “Studying abroad was beneficial because I was exposed to students from all over the world and challenged to work in uncomfortable situations,” said Forrest Hoffman, a junior at UF. The University of North Texas explained that you acquire skills that will strengthen your resume in “America’s increasingly ethnically and culturally diverse workforce” which is in high demand for “globally-minded” companies.
Volunteer in your home, school, or a new community. Read to children, lead vacation bible school, help in a hospital or nursing home, volunteer at the zoo or with Habitat of Humanity; find an interest or passion and lend a hand. That is just what Justin Hall, a recent UF graduate, did. He is one of 20 in his group biking across the country with the Ability Experience. From a professional stance he said, “You have to gain the ability to acclimate to new situations, people, and cultures. One of the most important parts of our trip is communication, on and off the bike.” Volunteering offers many skills that can be utilized and transferred to many different situations and always looks good on a resume.
Road trip with family or friends. Expand your horizons and knowledge of different places. Many companies have offices all over the country and world, so learning how to encounter different people and cultures will develop talents for you as an individual. “Road tripping for a month taught me how to live in the present and to stay connected to what is going on around you in the moment,” said Nick Rodriguez, a junior at UF. He learned how to remain open-minded and try new things outside of his comfort zone. One day down the road, if future employers offer Rodriguez jobs across the country, he is more inclined to take on new opportunities.
Whatever you decide to do, do what is best for you and your future. Summer offers many opportunities and experiences for students, graduates and young professionals can benefit you. Let me know what you are doing this summer at Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org.