The University Network

Five Ways to Better Yourself and Your Career Over Summer Break

Sadly, summer break for most college students can’t mimic the party atmosphere of “American Pie,” but that doesn’t mean you have to spend summer waiting for the next school year to start. Summer break can be a great opportunity to better yourself and take time away from daily college routine.

Here are five ways to make the summer of 2019 the most fun and rewarding one yet.

1. Study Abroad

Most college students take the majority of their classes in the fall and spring semesters, so it’s not always an option to take time to study abroad then, when you have a full-course load. Study abroad programs can often be impractical due to their limited course offerings, and many students don’t want to take time away from their friends or daily routine in what is supposed to be the best four years of your life.

A good option then is to study abroad in the summer.  Summer semesters abroad can fulfill your desire to travel and explore a foreign culture, while not seeming too speculative. Studying abroad serves as an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. You can consume unfamiliar cuisine, hone your foreign language skills, create diverse friends and sharpen your world view.

SEE: 7 Reasons to Study Abroad

2. Get an Internship

Internships, paid or unpaid, are always rewarding. They serve as an opportunity to submerge yourself in the true culture and routine of your field. You earn real-life experience to help you gauge whether you wish to continue in that line of work. College prepares you academically for the real world, but internships give you the opportunity to sharpen your skills, develop professional connections and boost your resume. There is no other way to put your skills to test than to explore the professional world. Internships enhance your resume and confidence, which will help you obtain a job after college.

Internships may help you land a job, as employers often hire interns to get a taste of their skills, personality and work drive before hiring new employees. You need to work hard and distinguish yourself from other interns, if the employer has more than one intern. If a company has the financial means and the need to increase its staff, the employer is more likely to hire interns who made a good impression.

SEE: How to Land Your Dream Internship (From The Other Side of the Career Center)

3. Take Summer Classes

If you have ever dropped or failed a class, or merely fallen behind on your schedule to graduate, summer classes are a great way to catch up. They also serve as a way to pull ahead of schedule if you need to lighten your class load for fall, or want to graduate early. Summer classes often have a smaller class size, which are helpful for students who benefit from a more intimate class setting. College campuses are also more quiet during the summer so there are fewer social distractions, which leave you with more time to study.

In addition, the class loads in the summer are often shorter and less demanding than those in the spring or fall semesters, so it’s also a good time to pick up a part-time job. Upperclassmen often have to rent housing for a twelve-month period so living and taking classes in your college town eliminates the guilt or wastefulness of paying four-months rent for an empty house.

SEE: Free Online Classes

4. Get a Summer Job

While many students resent the idea of moving back home to work at a job unrelated to his or her field, there are many benefits for doing so. The first benefit is pretty obvious; you need to make money. Whether your money is going towards tuition, books or drinks at the bar, it needs to come from somewhere. Summer jobs teach lessons of saving, discipline and time management.

Jobs, whether they are in your field of study or not, teach valuable skills. They teach you how to converse and work with others efficiently. All jobs have their demands and consequences, so you learn something everyday.

See: How to Find a Part Time Job in College

5. Better your Health

This tip goes with the other four pieces of advice because it doesn’t take up all of your time, but is essential nonetheless. If you are stressed, dissatisfied with your body, or merely need a way to let loose, exercise and healthy eating habits are essential.

Summer is the perfect time to improve your health because you don’t have the same pressure and busy schedule that you have in the fall or spring semesters, which stand in the way of your allotting time for health and fitness. Find a local gym and find your niche. Whether that be weight lifting, running or attending yoga classes, a healthy lifestyle calms the nerves, helps level thought and increases overall confidence.  

SEE: Easy Ways to Stay Fit in the 21st Century


Take advantage of your summer. It is okay to take some time to relax at the beginning or the end, but it is imperative to capitalize on your break from school. You gain nothing from just sitting around your house all day (other than just relaxing). So work hard and enjoy yourself doing so. You will be rewarded in the long run.