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Volume 76
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Volume 79

Counselor's Corner

This week's topic: Summer Plans

Published (Volume 76, No. 29)

I know we all want to sit on the beach all summer, but for most of us, that’s just not going to happen.

As you head toward the end of the semester, you are probably thinking about your summer plans. For some students, the choices are clear. They may have a job lined up, or be planning a full summer school schedule.  For those who are still trying to decide what to do, there are some important considerations.

The summer can be a great time to explore the future career fields you are considering.  Some students have arranged to have internships, which are terrific opportunities for exploration.

If you don’t have an internship, try to get a job in a setting that is at least somewhat related to your career field. A receptionist or data-entry job may not seem very glamorous, but while working with professionals in your chosen field, you will learn something. 

For example, if you want to go into medicine, working in a hospital or a doctor’s office, even in a low-level job, may be an eye-opener. If you are willing to take a humble job, you can make important contacts for your career. 

Cleaning cages at a veterinarian’s office may be a hard way to earn the minimum wage, but if you want to be a vet someday, it’s a great idea.

If you can’t get a job in a related field, use a little of your summer time to volunteer.  A future special education teacher might volunteer to be a camp counselor for a week at a camp for special-needs children; a future public relations specialist could volunteer to publicize a program for a nonprofit agency in the community.

Be creative and develop your own opportunities. Talk to your professors before the end of this term and brainstorm some ideas to develop your skills over the summer.

You can also plan to use the summer months to bolster your academic skills.  Although it is normal to avoid subjects that are tough for us, a little math review or writing practice over the summer might make next year easier for you. 

Don’t forget to read.  Even leisure reading will build your vocabulary and make you a better a student. The summer is also a time to recharge and renew ourselves. If you don’t have to work or go to school all summer, plan for some recreation (of a healthy sort) and some adventure.

There is no excuse for claiming to be bored or to have nothing to do over the summer.  That is just a failure of imagination.

If you have structured plans for the summer, make the most of the breaks you do have to plan a little fun and something that will leave you feeling refreshed.

If you have a difficult family situation and you know that being at home all summer will stress you out, make an effort to find a job or internship out of town.

A summer spent as a camp counselor or a waiter at a resort may be more emotionally healthy for you than a summer spent arguing with your parents.

If you are an older student and the difficult family situation is with your own partner, use the summer as a time to get some perspective on the problem and to consider your options.

While you may never recapture the responsibility-free summers of your childhood (and I hope you had several of those), the rhythm of the academic year allows us to change our pace, re-examine our habits, and restore ourselves. 

It’s a great opportunity - don’t waste it. And please, wear sunscreen.

For more information about summer employment, visit the Employment Information Services office, located at 215 University Center. There is a board outside the office filled with employment opportunities. Get one before they are all gone!