How to Make the Most of Your Summer

Monday, July 23, 2012


Since it's almost the middle of July already, I know I am already starting to worry, did I make the most of my summer? Some students often take a course during the summer, and while others take multiple courses while working as well. Kudos to all of you!

No one's here to judge anyways, you personally are the only individual that can determine whether or not you made the most of your summer from a personal development stand point. But here are a few things to consider, and a few things that you can still do before you head back to school.

Have you achieved the goals you set out at the beginning of the summer? Did you learn a few new skills at work? Did you get a volunteer position that you really wanted?

If you still haven't achieved the goals you set out, this is the midway point (well a little bit past but who's counting). Sit down with your manager/supervisor at work and see what you can do to achieve your goals. If you were unable to land that volunteer position that you really wanted, e-mail them back and follow up, see if there are any opportunities during the school year that you can do on a part-time basis.

Be persistent, and take initiative, that's the only way you can achieve your goals.

Have you updated your resume?

While your still working you have a much clearer idea on the tasks that you completed and skills you learned while working or volunteering or the ones you learned from non-university/college courses. Make sure to start adding/editing your resume now when all of this is still fresh in your mind.

Make sure to gather samples of your work.

Have you worked on some really interesting projects this summer? Make sure to get copies of these and keep them, put them in a portfolio, scan them etc. These will come in handy the next time you apply for a job (which will possibly be next summer).

Have you travelled enough?

This summer has been super packed for me personally, I feel like I have gone on a tour of Ontario. Aside from all the serious stuff I normally talk about, make sure you make some awesome memories this summer so at least you have something great to remember while your soul is being destroyed at school.

Still want to learn something awesome? A language? How to use Photoshop?

One of the goals I set out at the beginning of summer was to further develop some of soft skills which may be hard to learn on the job etc. There are a bunch of courses available online often for free that can help you out in this category. You can view some of the many websites out there that are able to help you learn new things by checking out the Cheap Students Learning section. One of my goals is to get a lot better at using the Adobe suite of programs, I'm still working away..

Another excellent thing to do is to just READ. I know it sounds super lame, but start getting your mind working again, school will be a lot less of a shock to the system. 

Have you save up enough money?

Unfortunately this is the least fun thing to ask yourself, but it's true. Have you planned out how much you will need for the next school year? Will you have enough to make it through? Some things to consider.

  • Rent
  • Food
  • Tuition
  • "Entertainment"-partying, alcohol, movies, dinners etc.

What money will you get from loans, OSAP, scholarships etc.?

If you already find yourself in the red based on the income you have earned this summer, make sure to save every penny you can from now until school starts. Maybe try to take on another part-time now that can transition into the fall semester in order to keep you afloat or check out scholarship websites, start applying and see what you can do to get some extra funding. By thinking about this now it will be a lot less stressful when you suddenly can't afford food for a week during the school year, close to exams. School is already hard enough.

Lauren Bernardo is a current University of Guelph Commerce student.  Her blog Cheap Students aims to help students save money and keep it. Her writing is inspired by her personal experiences as a student on a budget and by her love for saving money.

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