You only need a few weeks to make a big difference
The summer break offers lots of opportunities to beef up your CV, get some new skills and generally make yourself irresistible to colleges, unis and employers. You don’t need to go mad: just a few carefully chosen activities will show that you’re taking self-development seriously. Your life will thank you.
A part-time job
The obvious benefit here is earning money. But you’ll also learn essential time-management, teamwork and communication skills, meet some new people, and get a list of responsibilities and experiences you can add to any application. Any job counts: working on a till requires good numeracy, serving in a restaurant demands concentration and quick thinking, retail work needs stamina and product knowledge…you can make any job work for you. And yes, the money thing.
You might not be ready, willing or able to step into full time work yet, but getting some work experience is a really valuable step towards it. It’s a great way to understand a bit more about a job role or industry that interests you or to find out a bit more about the world of work and the different rituals and routines involved (many of them focused on coffee). It also makes employers, unis etc. sit up and take notice, because it shows initiative and determination. The Student Room is a reliable place to get some advice.
This can be anything. A few weekend breaks in the UK, a quick railway trip in Europe, a summer working on a camp in the US…there are loads of options. Travel has superficial benefits like Instagram gloating, but the life boosting benefits go much deeper: it can teach you to be more independent, give you confidence, uncover problem-solving skills you didn’t know you had, and expose you to new places and new ways of doing things. A summer is loads of time to do something meaningful and affordable: start at gapyear.com .
Somewhere in your local community is a project run by good people who need your help. They might need you to do physical work, like gardening or rubbish collection; support work like spending time with elderly people or children; educational work offering your knowledge to younger people; or any number of other things. Volunteering makes a difference to the world around you, looks great on a CV and can be a rewarding, humbling experience. Try Do-it to get you started.
Your mind doesn’t need to gradually turn to mush in the sun if you don’t want it to. There are lots of ways to learn something new, fun and useful that doesn’t cost anything more than a bit of your time. That might be how to write code (there’s a little something called Minecraft), how to speak a language (try the Memrise or DuoLingo apps for language lessons without all the academic bits), how to draw, how to make a short film…whatever interests you, spending some time on self-development will impress employers and admissions tutors, and you get some extra knowledge into the bargain.
Another great one, especially if you’re off to uni or moving into your own place, is learning to cook a few meals: try the Kitchen Stories or Deliciously Ella apps, or the weird and wonderful You Suck At Cooking YouTube channel for the basics.
Summer’s here. School’s gone. Go do something.