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Freshmen Alma Ceja and Danielle Doerflein study on the quad between classes, photo Patrick Sweeney

Summer is a great time to build your resume with an internship or some extracurriculars. Of course, we highly recommend that you spend time this summer relaxing and recharging before fall semester starts. But if you also want to do things that make a difference in the community and learn new skills you can apply to jobs and your classes, we have some ideas for you.

1) Volunteer for some local food programs

City of Good works with organizations and businesses that have gotten together to provide people in need with regular meals. This year, they’re running “Cafe Shakespeare” at the Shakespeare Festival. Another good option is to volunteer to help out at our campus food pantry to keep it running smoothly all year long.

2) Meet with a career counselor

To prep your career plan for fall you can meet with a counselor no matter where you’re spending the summer. They do virtual, in person, and email counseling. Bonus: There’s no wait for appointments over the summer.

3) Amp up your skills with a workshop

You don’t have to spend your summer in an actual classroom, but there are lots of short online classes that can give you a crash course in a skill of your choice. This also gives you the chance to dive more deeply into one area that interests you within your field—showing employers that you have the skills they’re looking for.

4) Listen to the experts in a podcast or book

Sometimes the best place to start, when working on yourself, is in the mind. Reading a new book on your favorite subject or listening to a podcast is a great way to get your gears turning and will likely spark inspiration for future projects or maybe ones you want to get started on right now! Tune into the Get a (Student) Life Podcast to hear student stories and advice.

5) Put your talents on display

Boosting your brain power in any of these ways is definitely a great way to spend your summer. The focus is for you to develop your skills, learn new things and have fun while doing it. Part of that fun is putting your skills to the test. A video, an essay, podcast, presentation or blog that shows off what you have learned is something concrete that you can use to tell employers how you’ve grown.

5 ½) Find some happiness

Ask yourself, “what makes me happiest?” Ask yourself, “who do I want to be?” and “how can I work towards that?” Sure, experience, volunteering, and extracurriculars are all a wonderful way to spend your time, but sometimes it’s good to ground yourself mentally before a new semester starts and remind yourself that it’s not all about getting ahead, it’s also about your personal journey of fulfillment.

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