Get more than good memories out of this summer break

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Get more than good memories out of this summer break

As fun as this looks, push yourself to do more this summer.

As fun as this looks, push yourself to do more this summer.

Getty Images/Fuse

As fun as this looks, push yourself to do more this summer.

Getty Images/Fuse

Getty Images/Fuse

As fun as this looks, push yourself to do more this summer.

by KC Stanfield, Staff Columnist

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Summer is the perfect time to go to the beach, socialize with friends, sleep and play video games—if you’re me—but since you go to college, chances are you have a bit more ambition than that. Even though some relaxing is fundamental for the break, it’s much smarter to be productive while you have all this extra time. 

We can all find some way to make our three-month break result in something beneficial for the future. After all, the summer highlight needs to be better than finishing your Netflix backlog.”

I’m aware that we’re all in our own unique situation, so it’s best for us to each prioritize our own immediate necessities and long-term goals. That being said, we can all find some way to make our three-month break result in something beneficial for the future. After all, the summer highlight needs to be better than finishing your Netflix backlog.

The ideal way to spend a summer would be with a paid internship. You get both the experience for your resume along with the payment of an actual job. These are not easy to get, since most places would rather pay you in college credits. The 2013 survey of National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that 63 percent of paid interns got at least one job offer after college with an average starting salary of $51,000. If you have the fortune and opportunity to be offered one of these coveted positions, take it in a heartbeat.

If you missed the paid internship boat and are left with a consistent amount of spare time, volunteering or unpaid internships related to your major are also an option. Free labor is always in demand. It will pad the experience portion of your resume, but that’s about it. Besides being unpaid, the previous survey showed that 37 percent of unpaid interns received one job offer out of college. This statistic barely beats those that never interned, with 35 percent of non-interning graduates getting at least one job offer. However, those with no internship experience earned an average of $2,000 less than their more experienced peers, so unpaid internships do offer some advantages. Granted, every major is in a different situation, so this statistic can vary greatly depending on what you study. Consider unpaid internships on a case-by-case basis. Do your homework on the company before you decide if the position is worth your unpaid time.

Many students also have the option to get a summer job—whether it’s one, two or three is up to how much work you can handle. Making some extra cash when you have the time can make the upcoming semester more manageable. But, unless you want all your work to go to waste, you’d better be responsible with the added income. Put it in a savings account, pay off some student loans or invest it in the stock market, but just don’t gamble it away in Las Vegas. The drawback with working over summer is that it’s not the best long-term plan for gathering experience in your field. A restaurant or retail job doesn’t do anything for your post-college resume, but it doesn’t harm your chances either.

Of course, there’s always summer school. While it’s still better than doing nothing, out of all the options, it’s by far the worst. One three-unit class will cost more than $1,000, therefore taking summer classes should only be for those in danger of being delayed a semester.

All facts aside, it’s still important to have an enjoyable, memorable (or not, depending on how much you drink) summer. Be smart with your time and money and keep your future goals (and liver) in mind. While we’re all entitled to a laid-back week or two this break, no ambitious college student should let three whole months go completely to waste in the name of summer fun.

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