College can be a lot of work, and sometimes we forget what it’s like to NOT be working on assignments and taking tests all of the time. Ending the school year is like when you get off of a treadmill and feel like you should still be moving forward, and it can be hard to adjust to whatever your new schedule is. Here are the things you should consider doing with your time to keep yourself busy but also avoid stress and maybe learn something useful over the summer:
1) Get an internship
Not just your old summer job working at the grocery store, but with an organization in the field you might be interested in pursuing as a career (although that old summer job could also be a good option if you want to enjoy your last summer before you have to start getting ready to enter the real world, or if you plan to travel a lot). This is the best way to get hands-on experience in an industry and make a decision about whether you enjoy the work you are doing. Also, if you can get a paid internship, having pocket-money for the following semester is a big bonus!
2) Do research
Whether on your own college campus, at a school near home, or in a laboratory not affiliated with a university, research can be a fun way to explore new topics and become more comfortable with some complex concepts about a topic you enjoy. Not everyone wants to go into industry right after college, and if you want to be a researcher, a doctor, a professor, etc. where you are considering grad school, research experience is invaluable. Also, if some of your friends are also doing research, it can be fun to all spend some time together over the summer when you aren’t as busy. Lastly, your research is always an interesting topic of conversation and a good way to build your network by getting to know some of the experts in your field.
College might be the first time you leave the little bubble of the town you grew up in, with a more diverse student body, different weather, etc. However, there’s an entire world out there to explore. I personally took the opportunity to travel this summer and went to Israel for 10 days and it was amazing. Trying new foods, immersing yourself in a new culture, and touring foreign locales can be very exciting, and is definitely helpful in leaving the school year behind you to relax. Now that you’re an adult, traveling is much easier, and you should take advantage!
4) Take a summer class
Sometimes we don’t get to take all of the classes we want at college. Maybe a certain class sounds interesting but we can’t fit it into our schedule because of all our required courses. If there’s a class you want to get out of the way to make more room in your schedule, or if you are just interested in learning about a specific topic, taking a class at a university near you can be a great way to get ahead in school and be productive over the summer. It’s not at stressful when you take only one class at a time, you get to go home every day, and your school might just take credit from other colleges as pass/fail so you don’t have to stay up all night to make sure you get a perfect score on all of your tests.
5) Learn a new skill/pick up a new hobby
Maybe you want to become familiar with graphic design programs, maybe you want to learn coding, or painting, or investing. Maybe you want to practice a sport that your friends play at school. Whatever piques your interest, you should devote a few hours each week to trying to improve your abilities/expand your horizons. You might impress yourself with how much you can learn with all of the time you have over the summer!
The first thing you should do when you get off of campus is take a long shower and a nap in your own home. Make sure to go outside and enjoy the sun, maybe read a book if you haven’t been reading a lot because of your busy schedule. Catch up with your high school friends who you haven’t seen in awhile. Most importantly: spend quality time with your family who is helping get you through college and who wishes they could call you every day while you’re away. College might be your second home, but don’t forget your first!
The summer is a long break from your college friends, and while you should definitely catch up with the ones who live near you whenever you can, you will all be back on campus faster than you know it. Don’t rush summer! Before you know it, it’ll be your last summer of college and you’ll be wondering where the time went. Try new things, spend time with the people and activities you love, and take it easy. (Also, stay in shape and get a nice tan! There’s not a lot of time to do these things when you’re holed up in a library all-semester-long!)