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How to have the most productive summer ever

 Written by    May 11, 2015

After the stress of finals, it is all too easy to go home and collapse on the couch. After a few days of lazing about, however, boredom becomes to set in.

Some people fail to realize that summer is actually the perfect opportunity to be productive. What you do during the summer can determine how easily you will find a job, or get into graduate school later on.

For this reason, I have compiled a list of ways to make the most of your time both on and off campus.


  1. Work: whether this is on campus or at the local restaurant near your home, take the time off to build your resume and develop critical skills and experiences that you can highlight later on when interviewing for internships or graduate school. Money is an added bonus.
  2. Volunteer: one of the hallmarks to being well-rounded is making a positive impact in the community. Without classes, there is plenty of time to visit and lend your services to nonprofit organizations, schools, and other areas that need help. In addition, it is the perfect opportunity to cultivate leadership skills.
  3. Do research: the focus on research varies between colleges, but the consensus is that it is hugely important and highly recommended. Begin reaching out to faculty members whose work you find interesting, and develop an idea for a possible topic to study. Summer is the perfect time to compile sources and create a foundation for the study, and the best part is that it doesn’t even require you to be on campus. Getting started during the summer is great because when school starts, you can jump directly into doing more hands-on activities such as conducting surveys and experiments.
  4. Study and take relevant exams: if you know that graduate school is definitely in your future, start preparing for the exams. It can be tempting to wait until the school year starts when you are in a more studious mood, but chances are you will be weighed down by too many academic commitments to focus on exams not related to your classes. If you get the tests out of the way over the summer, it will be one less thing to worry about when you’ve got 10,000 other things going on.
  5. Apply for scholarships: most scholarships require several essays, and using the same rationale as above for taking exams, it is far easier to get them out of the way during the summer rather than during the school year. The extra time also allows you to search for more options, which increases the chance of getting more money.
  6. Apply for study abroad: many study abroad programs have early deadlines in the fall, so if you do not get started during the summer you may find yourself scrambling to complete all the materials once school is in session. Plus, getting the materials put together early allows you to send it to others to proofread, which gives you a better chance of getting into the program you want.
  7. Compile a list of opportunities: this can range from internships to scholarships you want to apply for. Sometimes, the applications for opportunities do not open until the fall. This does not mean you have to wait until the fall to start your search, however. If you pinpoint and make a plan for what you want to apply for, it’ll be far simpler and less time-consuming to go after them later on.
  8. Polish up your professional materials: update your resume, create a LinkedIn, and think about your professional references. Regardless of major, it is important to have updated work experiences and qualifications. Make sure that when it’s time to apply (for anything really), your materials accurately reflect who you are and what you are capable of.

Yes, it is easier to lie down on the couch and binge-watch movies for two weeks straight. But if you choose to stay productive during the summer, it can only help your future. So make an effort to create a positive impact, whether personally, professionally, or in your community.


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Advice, Author, Campus Life, Co-curricular work, On-campus work, Personal, Personal Events, Research, School Spirit, Student Life, Study Abroad, Studying, The Future, Work

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