By: Jacob McCourt
Summer is definitely my favourite season of the year. I mean, how can you beat a nice cold beverage with a sunny view of the pool? At the same time, the summer represents a blank canvas with unlimited opportunity. Here are a few undertakings that can fill your four-month vacation:
Find an Internship
A great way to broaden your horizons during the summer would be an internship. Paid or unpaid (gasp), these positions will offer you the opportunity to network and explore potential future career paths.
For local internships, you might want to check your University/College’s Career or Success office. For students at the University of Windsor, you can sign up for the University of Windsor’s Volunteer Internship program. The program offers the chance to work with a variety of organizations in different job functions. As a member of the program, I got valuable experience and a part-time job once the internship was complete. On the other end of the spectrum, AIESEC (a student-run organization) offers international internship experience in 110 countries around the world. Just know that the application/selection process is long (2-7 months according to AIESEC’s website).
If you are lucky enough to get an internship, here are a few different resources on making the most of it:
Lifehacker’s How To Be The New Guy (or Gal) At Work
Huffington Post’s Tips For Internships: 13 Bits Of Advice To Make Your Summer Awesome
Harvard Business Review’s Nobody Has Time For Interns
Harvard Business Review’s A Guide for Summer Interns: Your Personal Matrix
Similar to interning, volunteerism offers a wealth of rewards. In addition to giving you the feeling of “doing good”, volunteerism helps advance the cause of the organization you decide to work with. For those of you in Windsor, you can find great volunteer opportunities through WEvolunteer. You might have not to flood to the Internet, however – it might be as simple as asking your relatives about potential opportunities!
Start a Business
Are you the type of person that isn’t interested in working for someone else? Well, you might not have to! All you need is an idea to start your own business! Are you recently graduated? Even better! There are a ton of different parties (and funding opportunities) for students interested in starting their own business. CYBF (Canadian Youth Business Foundation) offers financing for businesses fitting certain requirements. Even WEtech offers programs for recent graduates hoping to start a business. DeskUP provides a subsidized workspace with all the amenities and access to mentorship, coaching and peer networks.
Learn a New Skill
Einstein once said that: “learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it”. Learning should not stop once you exit school, so why not learn a new valuable skill in your downtime? If you want to learn photoshop, for example, it is as simple as reading an FAQ online or watching some YouTube videos. For learning a new language, there are a slew of alternatives including the new launched Duolingo. The free service teaches you Spanish or French; for example, by letting you translate web content from your native tongue.
Take Summer Courses
If none of the previous alternatives tickle your fancy, you might consider signing up for summer courses. Either in-class or online, you can use the summer to get ahead and possibly finish your program early. If you do not want to finish early, you can lighten your load and free up time during the school year that could be used to complete any of the previously discussed activities.
Don’t Forget to Relax!
At the same, some might see the break as exactly that: a break. Make sure to take the time to recharge your batteries! Watch a movie, read a book, play a video game or hang out with friends while you have the chance!