Image from Flickr.

Image from Flickr.

When you’re in the middle of final exams and papers, all you can think of is how you are going to do absolutely no work during the summer. You probably envision days filled with Netflix binging and unregulated sleeping hours. But, four months is a long time to do nothing. As a University student, it is crucial to make the most of any free time you may have. During the academic semester, there is a not a lot of time for things other than studying and, maybe, a few extracurricular activities. The summer provides valuable time for you to improve your CV and have experiences you would otherwise have no time for. Chances are, you will get bored if you spend your four summer months doing absolutely nothing. Here are some ways that you can have a productive summer which can help with both CV building and memory making.

1. Volunteer

No one can ever stress enough how important volunteering is for a CV. Philanthropic qualities are ones potential employers often look for in hiring new employees. Volunteer work demonstrates that you have a motivation to help others without monetary gain. In addition, volunteering can provide you with excellent experience in a field you may be interested in. For example, if you’re considering a career in the sciences, volunteering at a hospital or care home can give you insight into the world of healthcare. It can reflect positively on your CV if you will be applying to a position in a related field in the future.

Volunteering is also a great way to spend your summer because it gives you the opportunity to make a positive impact somewhere. Having the opportunity to go to University is one many people do not have, so volunteering is a great way to give back. Furthermore, having a University education means you may be educated in a specialty that not every volunteer can be. For instance, if you’re studying English or education you can use that knowledge to help volunteer in an after-school program or as a tutor for kids struggling in school. You have the ability to make a difference.

2. Work Experience

Gaining work experience is probably one of the most valuable ways you can spend your summer months. Specifically, working in a position that is related to the field you want to eventually work in is an amazing way to strengthen your CV and make sure you actually enjoy that type of work. You can try finding an internship in your local community. It’s as easy as calling or emailing a place you would like to intern at and expressing your interest. Also, keep your eyes open on your college’s website or related social media pages as many internship positions are likely to be advertised that way.

The downside of internships is that many of them do not pay. If you would like to earn extra cash during the summer, you can find a part-time job. Chances are you may not find a paid job at a place you want to work at ten years down the road. But, having any type of job that exceeds two months demonstrates commitment, hard work and reliability and will look great on a CV. If you are interested in a part time job, try handing out resumes to different local business (remember, you will probably have to hand out a lot before getting a call for an interview) or keep your eyes peeled on newspapers and social media sources.

3. Exploring or Traveling

Summertime means you have the freedom to travel virtually anywhere you want to. Granted, financial constraints usually limit your ability to travel to far off places. However, exploring the city you live in is a fun way to feel like a tourist without spending a lot. Many towns offer free events in the summer or special discounts for college students. Look up if there are any museums or art galleries in your area or if there are any inexpensive or free concerts happening soon. You can try a random restaurant in a part of town you have never explored or even pack a picnic and find a new park to eat at.

You can even try doing a small road trip or overnight trip somewhere close. If you get a sizable group of friends together to split the costs, it doesn’t even have to be that expensive. Especially if you end up getting a part time job, you can probably pull off a fun getaway adventure for at least a couple days.

4. Summer Course

Doing schoolwork in the summer is probably the last thing on your mind. But, four months is a long time to go without academic stimulation. Consider taking a quick, month-long summer course at your University or another local college. It’s a great way toyour mind stimulated and reduce your course load for next semester

If you don’t want to take a college-level course, you can probably find ‘mini courses’ in your community to keep you busy. Many community centers offer four-week courses on a variety of topics or skills; guitar playing, cooking lessons, learning a new language etc. This can allow you to explore a new hobby or topic of interest and help make your summer be a little less bland. More so, having a variety of interests or learning a new specialization is a great way to stand out on your CV.

Having a four-month break from school offers you the freedom to do (almost) anything you want to. Try to make sure you have a productive and exciting summer! But remember, it is important to make sure you take a much-needed break this summer and just relax. School is stressful and we have summer break for a reason. While it’s great to stay busy, make sure you take time for yourself. Reserving some time for sleeping in and a Netflix marathon isn’t always a bad thing.

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the author

Alexandra is a third year student at McGill University studying Joint Honors Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in Sexual Diversity Studies. She is an aspiring writer with publications appearing on The Huffington Post, Her Campus McGill, Elite Daily, The Main, College Fashionista, Unwritten, and, of course, The Prospect. She is a self admitted coffee addict and Netflix Junkie with an unhealthy obsession for plaid shirts. Alexandra is passionate about maintaining perfect hair, solving the problems of consequentialism, and perfecting her sarcasm. In her spare time she enjoys binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, shopping as a sport, and composing blatantly angsty music. When she’s not studying at her infamous corner of the library, you can find Alexandra at whatever concert is happening that night or working on her Pinterest boards. Follow her on Twitter @AlmostAlexandra or instagram @alexandrasakellariou.

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  1. Cassidy on June 16, 2015

    taking courses in summer are such a help! It meant I could take less classes during the fall- definitely recommend it!

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