It’s summer! Time for sun, salt, sea and the sky — and also unlimited opportunities to think about the fact that soon, you’ll have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. That sounds scary (and it is!) but a summer break doesn’t have to be you sitting around and moping. Instead, you can use it to build your resume, start a professional project or even finish that book you’ve really wanted to read.
1. Get an internship
We couldn’t have started this list without the classic piece of advice that all teens in high school get. Those chants of “Get an internship!” might be wearing on you, but it’s really the best way for you to build skills, develop your work ethic and figure out if you’re a right fit in your field of choice.
“An internship is an important step to establishing your career goals,” says Pulin Sanghvi, executive director of career services at Princeton University. If you’re at the age where you can get considered for a full-time job, you’re in luck! “For many employers, the internship is an extended interview,” says Ethel Badawi, associate director of George Washington University’s Career Center.
Sanghvi and Badawi agree that an internship can help beef up your resume and increase your chances of getting a job later in life, in conversation with monster.com. Indeed, last year the average job offer rate to interns climbed to 73%, the highest since the peak of the pre-recession job market, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2016 Internship & Co-op Survey Report. But if that’s not your thing…
In a city that has so many opportunities for you to exercise your social conscience, volunteering is a great way for you to expand your perspective on the world and develop as a person. UAE-based organizations like Dubai Cares, Al Noor, Emirates Red Crescent and K9 Friends are always looking for volunteers to help their charitable cause.
“Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community, but it’s also a way to sharpen your skills and make professional connections,” says Lyndsey Pollak, author of ‘Getting from College to Career’ to Teen Vogue.
3. Prepare for the standardized test you KNOW you should be studying for
We know, we know: the SAT/ACT are terrible and we’re not going to lecture you on why you should study for them. But you’ll never have as much free time as you do right now—so even if the last thing you want to do is study, you might find that the summer is the best time for you to get some good prep time in.
4. Start a new project
“How about spending the summer taking on a project related to your area of career interest?” says Pollak. “A business major could read through every book on the Wall Street Journal business best-seller list and review each book on Amazon.com. An aspiring film industry worker could watch every film on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 best films of all time. An aspiring curator could tour every museum in a 200-mile radius.”
The great thing about free time? It allows you to introspect. Try to sit down at some point in the summer and really think about who you are as a person - your strengths, your weaknesses and how to build upon and remedy them. Whether you approach this exercise from a career-based or personal angle, you’ll definitely get something out of it and hopefully come out the other side of summer confident, motivated and ready to show the world who’s boss.