How to Last-Minute Prep for the End of the Year

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Woman posing after graduation

The end of the year is coming around, along with all the unavoidable stress. Even if you can put aside finals (which is a big if), the whole situation is already stressful. You’re probably moving out of your dorm or apartment for the summer, and even if you’re not, your friends probably are. How can you best handle all the non-school related stress that comes along with the end of the school year, so that you’re free to stress over finals?

Plan Out Your Living Situation

Hopefully where you’re going to be living is already figured out (if not, get on that ASAP), but you still need to make a plan for the specifics. There are some great sample moving plans online, but you might need to make your own if your situation is unique.

If you’re moving out of the dorms, where are you going to store all your things? Most college towns have storage facilities available, and the university itself probably has some sort of free storage space available. Ask your RA about it! Be aware, though, that space is likely limited, so compact your personal items as much as possible.

If you’re moving out of an apartment, then it gets a lot easier and more complicated at the same time. On one hand, you’ve got some free storage if you’re renting the apartment all through the summer. On the other hand, a lot of college kids only rent their apartments through the school year in order to save some extra money. So then you’ll have a lot of extra stuff that needs to be put somewhere safer than the side of the road.

Decide if it’s even possible to take your stuff back home with you. If not, you’ll have to fork over some cash for a storage unit or ask if you can fill your friends’ garages over the summer.

A lot of students spend the summer at their parents’. If you will be, establish some ground rules with them before you even cross the threshold. Summer can be a strange time because you might not have a lot of responsibilities to keep your busy. Discuss with your parents exactly what they expect from you beforehand before you get pumped for three months of vacation.

Plan Out Your Connections

During the school year, it’s easy to maintain a connection with your friends or significant other, since you all see each other nearly every day. You probably even live with some of them. However, once summer rolls around, it can introduce a different dynamic into your relationships.

Despite all the ways to keep connected long distance these days, young people are more worried about losing relationships than other generations. We have more nightmares about our significant other leaving us and it’s harder than ever to maintain meaningful friendships with the proliferation of social media.

Make sure to put a plan in place with the people you really care about staying close with. We all know life happens, but there’s nothing wrong with promising to exchange emails weekly or Skype usernames. This not only puts the framework in place for your friendship to flourish, but it lets the other person know that you’re interested in maintaining your relationship. If you can, plan a trip together!

These steps can help you stay connected over the summer. You don’t want to come back to school and not know where to pick it up again.

You’re supposed to be focusing on finals, but that can prove impossible when you’re worried about preparing for the end of the semester. Check off these big worries so that you can move on to acing your exams and nailing your presentations. Once your living situation is squared away and your relationships secure, you’ll be ready to knock both of them out of the park.

Stop Being a Summer Zombie!

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We look forward to summer vacation all year, but about halfway through it can get stagnant. Yeah, you’re probably busy meeting all your goals, working a job, and padding that resume. Friends and family fit somewhere in there. But there are plenty of people who spend their summer vacation doing nothing, relishing the time when their biggest concern is determining what to watch on Netflix that day. Whichever camp you fall into, busy bee or couch potato, the fact remains that you’re probably not being as mentally stimulated as you are in the school year.

But during the summer? The brain drain is real. Zoning out every once in awhile is okay, but doing so for such an extended period of time makes you run the risk of becoming a zombie. Furthermore, engaging your mind frequently benefits your future career, as well as your grades, come fall.

So, how do you get the cogs in motion again without writing a term paper on your vacation? Well …

Keep Up on the News

Look, I know it’s complicated. Not only is it difficult to piece together everything happening around the world, but who’re you supposed to trust? That’s ultimately up to you, as everyone will have different political leanings, but try to assess every story’s validity. Read multiple different sources for every story, and you’ll eventually get a feel for which sources are reflecting a viewpoint and which ones are truly reporting the news.

Current events are a great way to keep your gears moving, and you’ll definitely impress your political science professors come fall.

Don’t Neglect Math!

Math is one of, if not the, most hated subjects out there, but it’s generally required at most universities for a good number of majors. If you’ve finished your mathematics requirements, maybe you can ignore this one, but math can be very useful for everyone, no matter your career field.

Understanding statistics helps you understand how the world actually works; knowing how to convert units helps with baking or building; realizing the true effect of percentages can help you understand how student loan interest affects your life after college. Math doesn’t come easy to everyone, but thinking about how math actually affects your life might help you care a little more. Consider any math problem, no matter how simple, like a puzzle to spur your brain on.  If it’s something very important, like your monthly budget or your savings, there’s no shame in using a calculator, but try to do it in your head first.

Have Good Discussions

Just because you don’t have to write a paper on the latest book you read doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t analyze it. Sometimes having a soundboard can reveal illogical assumptions you made — or even lead you to question your original position. Even if books aren’t your thing, you can have valuable discussions about anything: current events, a TV show, trends you notice in your own friend group, football, whatever. Just try to go a little bit below the surface, and it might spur interest in something you never thought about before.

Furthermore, keeping up-to-date on a variety of issues will help you have better conversations. If you’re well-informed on most topics, most people will probably want to talk to you. And who doesn’t want to be known as the smart one?

Organize!

Having a clean space is not just to put your mom at ease. It has actual physical and mental benefits too. It’ll improve your productivity, letting you focus easier instead of slumping back into bed. Being messy might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you consider that this will help you live an all-around healthier life, it’s really a no-brainer.

So whether you need to find space for your clothes or just keep them off the floor, clean your room! Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to fulfill all the stereotypes.

Keeping mentally sharp is a task that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Eventually, you’ll finish school, and you’ll have to do it completely on your own. Right now, you can rely on classes to expose you to new ideas, but don’t slack off during summer vacation just because you can! As your classmates shake off summer stupidity after returning to class, you’ll wow your professors and feel better than ever.

How to Have a Productive and Fun Summer

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It’s finally summer. And since you know that you only have so many summer vacations left, you’re prioritizing relaxing and reconnecting with friends and family! It’s time to fit in everything that you couldn’t during the school year when you were too busy to even sleep. Now, everything is a little slower paced.

Except, soon enough it’ll be August, and none of your goals will be accomplished. This isn’t to say that you don’t have anything to fill your time now. You probably have a summer job or internship and are visiting old friends. But that doesn’t mean you have no chance of achieving some long-procrastinated goals. The truth is that you can have both, with some careful planning. Summer is the perfect time to have your cake and eat it too. You can read those books you were supposed to in high school (and now realize weren’t just a waste of time), travel somewhere new (so you’ll have something interesting to say to your new roommate), or lose that freshman fifteen (or sophomore 20, we don’t judge).

Write Down Your Goals!

It might seem useless, but writing down your goals makes it more likely that you will achieve them. Writing them down not only shows more commitment than simply envisioning it, but it also ensures that your goals will be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). While it’s easy to think things like, “I should read more this summer,” or “I should work out more during the summer, since I don’t have to get up early,” it’s a lot harder to come up with actionable goals. When you’re writing goals down, you’re forced to confront the fact that your goals aren’t very SMART. Instead, you’re more likely to write down something like, “I will read three novels this summer” or “I will work out five days a week for an hour.”

Perhaps most importantly, this will let you know see whether or not you’re overburdening yourself. If you have a goal list 10 pages long for the summer, this might not be a summer vacation, and that’s a priority too!

Plan Trips Ahead of Time

You’ve only got a couple more weeks until the end of summer, but you’re scheduled to work some extra shifts. That’s okay you’ll make some moolah right before the start of the semester — no problem, right? Until your friends call you about an impromptu camping trip, and you’re stuck between scrambling to get your shifts covered or missing out on one last hoorah with your friends.

It’s a crappy situation and one that too many ill-prepared college kids find themselves in. It’s even worse if you’re only in town for the summer because then the pressure is really on to both make money and spend as much time with friends as possible. It’s much easier if you plan out your trips in advance. Obviously, this can’t be a reality in all circumstances, but you should do with as many summer trips as possible.

Also, planning ahead for trips will let you account for your goals! Everyone accounts for work schedule changes, but keep in mind whatever schedule you have built around your goals as well. Of course, it’s not impossible to stay fit while traveling, and learning a language while traveling can be ideal! However, there might be some goals that you have that are more difficult to do, like making money to pay for tuition. Plans you have for those sort of goals might need to be accelerated when you consider travel plans.

Pad Your Resume

If you don’t have a job or internship, there are other valuable ways to gain experience. You can volunteer for various organizations, write for online magazines, or do online classes. The experience you’re looking for will depend on your niche, but this summer doesn’t have to be completely useless. You can use it to get ahead.

With this step in particular, though, make sure that this is an experience you will enjoy. Summer should be at least somewhat relaxing, and no one wants to start fall semester already burnt out. It’s important to pad your resume with experience, but it’s also important to take a moment to enjoy yourself.

Summer shouldn’t be a productivity wasteland, but deciding how productive you want to be is up to you. Some people see this as a great time to get ahead. Others just need to take a month and reset. However, don’t fall into the trap of getting absolutely nothing done. It can be easy to fall into the habit of doing nothing, but accomplishments and experiences will make your summer, not Netflix binging. Focus on the end goals, and you’ll have your best summer yet.

Summer Before College Bucket List

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Well, you’ve graduated high school, and now you’re ready to take on your next phase in life. But before you do, hold up a second! You have all summer to relax and check off these twenty of essential to-dos on your summer-before-college bucket list.

20 Things to Do the Summer Before Freshman Year

  1. Start a Blog

Whether you write one for yourself like a journal or make it public for the world, you’ll want to document your journey starting now with the pre-college jitters and all your plans.

 

  1. Reconnect With Nature

Go dance in the rain, hike in the mountains, or camp on the side of some dirt road. Whatever gets you outside is perfect!

 

  1. Plan a Friend Road Trip

Grab your most adventurous friend, a car that can go the distance, and an awesome playlist, and hit the road for a day or two (or more). It doesn’t even matter where you go.

 

  1. Take a “Fun” Class

We recommend trying a cooking class, picking up pottery lessons, or learning a new language. When it’s just for fun, there’s no pressure!

 

  1. Have Some “Me Time”

Living in a residence hall means you won’t have much time to yourself. That’s why we highly recommend that you go someplace you love and spend a day with just you.

 

  1. Spend Time With Mom and Dad

Mom and dad got you this far. They deserve some love too. Go on vacation with them, suggest bringing back family game night, or listen to their advice on college living.

 

  1. Read a Guilty Pleasure Book

Pretty soon, you’re not going to have many opportunities to read just for fun. If you’re a book nerd, now is the time to get out those bookmarks and library cards and start checking out all the books you’d swore you would someday read.

 

  1. Soak Up Some Sun

Vitamin D is essential, especially if you’re going to be living in a drafty, dark dorm room. Bathe in it now with some regular, safe tanning or make a few trips to the beach with sunscreen in hand.

 

  1. Revamp the Wardrobe

Budget for a day of shopping to get all the latest styles. And don’t forget your college fan gear! You’ll want to get into the school spirit early.

 

  1. Get Your Workout On

While the mornings are cool and the days are warm, take up an activity you can bring with you to college like yoga, dance, or weight lifting.

 

  1. DIY Some Dorm Decor

Spray paint an old lamp, create some personalized picture frames, or make wall hangings that are totally you! Use Pinterest as your guide.

 

  1. Take a Staycation

This is especially important if you’re going away for college. Have you ever wanted to try that hot restaurant everyone raves about? Now may be your last chance to enjoy your hometown.

 

  1. Throw a Fancy Dress Party

A fancy dress party is one where your guests come in costume. We especially love the idea of a party that encourages recycling your prom dress!

 

  1. Do Some Random Acts of Kindness

Volunteering towards a good cause should be on every bucket list. You’ll build that good karma and boost your resume.

 

  1. Pick Up a Relaxing Hobby

Meditate, knit, bake, play guitar, dance. You’ll take these hobbies with you to college where you’ll need a de-stresser.

  1. Do Summer Your Way

Don’t forget about your favorite little things like eating ice cream, playing in the backyard with your dog, or taking walks around your neighborhood. They all matter for the perfect summer!

 

  1. Score Tickets to that Festival

Now’s the time to splurge on that hot music festival. Plus, going with your high school BFF’s can make memories to last your lifetime.

 

  1. Start a Healthy Eating Routine

The Freshman 15 is totally real, so make sure you’ve got healthy meal planning down now. Learn how to do easy cooks or find a few go-to recipes you can recreate in your dorm.

 

  1. Plan Out Your Dorm Room

Shopping for college takes time, but if you want to make it easy on yourself, check out dorm room starter packs that have everything already to go for your first day in the dorms.

 

  1. Do One Epic Thing

We made this list with us in mind, but you’ll want to plan at least one thing (maybe a trip, activity, etc.) that you can remember forever. Do something big and bold to declare that this coming year is your year!

 

Whatever you do this summer, make sure you have no regrets. By making out your own, personalized bucket list, you can be sure you have the best time off ever.

The Ultimate Senior Week Guide

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The days are ticking by fast. Your finals are nearly done, and your graduation invites are sent off. Your school’s senior week is here, and it’s time to celebrate! No matter if you’re feeling nervous about leaving school or excited to walk the stage, there are so many ways you can make the most of your senior week. Here’s how you can prepare yourself for the week of your life.

 

Check the Schedule

Your college community wants to send you out in style. They pack the week or few days before graduation with huge events and celebrations. The plans may include an award ceremony, a night out in the city, or even a dance. Every college has its own, unique traditions in regards to senior-centered events, so it’s a good idea to check in with your student activities office to get the full details. If you need to purchase tickets or RSVP, make sure to do so well in advance as these events sell out quick.

 

Break Tradition and Do Your Own Thing

That being said, you don’t have to do any event you don’t want to! Your senior week is about, well, you! If your classes are done, and you’re just hanging out until you’ve got the diploma in hand, this is a great time to take a short road trip, check out tourist sights you haven’t had time to see before or make time to meet up with your friends for one-on-one time. The last thing you want to do is look back and wish you did something different with your last week as a college student.

 

Craft Together

If you’re more of the DIY type, grab a few friends and plan a graduation cap decorating night! It’s a fun way to stand out of the crowd and send a message that you made it (or to help your parents find you in the crowd). Come prepared with hot glue, pictures, stick-on studs or letters, and creative ideas to express yourself.

 

Share It With Your Friends and Family

It’s easy to get distracted with all the events that center on you. But we all know that we wouldn’t make it through college if it weren’t for the friends, family, and college staff that helped and supported us. Take a quiet moment from the festivities and start drafting some thank you notes. It’ll help you reflect on your favorite memories or see the picture of where you started as a freshman to where you are now.

 

Stock Your Closet

Don’t pack up your stuff just yet! You’ll want to make sure your wardrobe is ready to go. Have a few outfits for each day. Considering one minute you may be playing in a senior game of kickball or picnicking on the quad to dining in the President’s lounge or accepting an award for your academic accomplishments you’ll want to have appropriate get-ups for every single event. This is the perfect opportunity to pick out your commencement day outfit and shoes.

 

Plan a Pre-Graduation Tailgating Party

Most schools host a commencement rehearsal to get the kinks out, show you where to go, and walk you through the event. This is the perfect time to gather up your friends and throw one more party they won’t forget! Grab your tailgating gear, such as your school-themed cornhole games, and have your friends each bring a dish. You’ll love how this get together gets graduation week off on the right foot!

 

Use Your Summer Job to Catapult Your Summer

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“Summertime, go get a job!”

Have you heard that one yet? I remember hearing that from many people when I was in High School. Oddly, it mostly came from people that I rarely saw, didn’t really know what I was doing with my life, and just liked to offer unsolicited advice. I am all about maximizing the time you have during the summer because most don’t. If you do have a job or will find one for the summer, approach it with the right mindset because that is how you will get the most impact.

Your summer job is really for your development. Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be careers. That isn’t what they are meant to be. You’ll find yourself moving out of those types of jobs by maximizing the time you have when you start. Understand that. Your summer job is a foundation step for your career.

Over the summer, you can develop specific skills that will help catapult your career. Accountability, organization, communication, and work, to name a few.

Accountability

Be the best at whatever your responsibilities are. They may seem small or time spent wasted to you, but you are literally getting paid to fulfill these responsibilities, so they mean something to the business you work for. If you are a cashier, never leave a till unbalanced. If you stock shelves, establish an incredible organization system. Take pride in what you do and max it out. Yes, people will tell you to “calm down, slow down, or stop taking it so seriously” but in reality, you aren’t truly focusing only on today, you are trying to build a mentality that will propel your tomorrow. This will help you establish a habit of accountability. That way, when you start classes again in the Fall, or move on to the next job, you are ready to maximize every class and every responsibility you have even when you know it is only short term.

Organization

Starting a new job means you’ll be adjusting your daily schedule around this new role. Start planning your time so that you are never late. Fit in a solid morning routine, get what you need to get done outside of your job, but do not be late. Once you are at work, organize your flow in the way you get things done. Find the best way to work. Try new things, try new ways, improve the process. This is another habit that will give you success in school and later jobs. You’ll know how to change up the way you study or take notes, you’ll know how to take on new projects in later jobs. You’ll be able to get more done.

Communication

No matter the job, you’ll work with people. Maybe it is only the same three that you see and talk to every shift, maybe you consistently meet different people every day. Life is all people. Start practicing the skill of developing relationships with people. Great communication will present you with more opportunities than you ever thought possible. Focus on seeking to understand, help them get what they want, and let them know you appreciate them. This will help you as you later work with classmates and professors, and future people you will interact with in future jobs.

Work

More than anything, you’ve got to get it done! Make sure you are the employee that gets their stuff done. Even though you know this summer job is not forever, don’t waste your time. You’ll waste your time if you drag your feet. You’ll get more out of it when you build your ability to get things done. This mentality and habit will propel you through the rest of school and you will be ready to make some big things happen when you are ready to jump into your career.

Your summer job is more than just having something to do now right? Right. Go get it done. Build yourself into a better human. Start now, and go get it.

Summer Break Slimdown – 3 Simple Recipes!

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Let’s face it — sometimes we don’t make the best of decisions when we’re faced with a buffet of choices at the cafeteria. Addressing any damage you might have done eating on your meal plan takes dedication and energy. A lot of people thinks it begins and ends at the gym. However, the real place to get healthy is right in your kitchen. These three simple summer break “slimdown” recipes will give you a day’s worth of ideas on how to get your eating habits back on track.

 

BREAKFAST

People call breakfast the most important meal of the day for a reason. Eating right at breakfast means keeping hunger at bay later, giving you energy for any workout you may have planned, and setting your day up for healthy choices.

This fast food restaurant makeover is significantly lower in fat and packs in the protein. You can tweak it to match the nutrients your body needs or skip the English Muffin to reduce the carbs. Get creative!

healthy-breakfast-sandwich

Super Fast Egg, Cheese, and Bacon Sandwich

  • Ingredients:
    • Light, whole wheat English muffin
    • 3 tbsp. egg whites
    • 1/8 cup of shredded, reduced fat or nonfat cheese of your choice
    • 1-2 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • Directions:
    • Toast the English muffin
    • While it toasts, pour egg whites into a coffee mug. Mix in cheese and cooked bacon
    • Microwave mug in 30-second intervals until there is no more liquid, stirring in between to make sure cheese and bacon are distributed.
    • Place cooked eggs on muffin and enjoy!

 

LUNCH

The simplest meal of the day should be the easiest too. While you could do last night’s leftovers, there are plenty of healthy sandwich ideas you can experiment with.

This classic sandwich is our favorite. Both great for your body and an awesome recipe perfect for warm days, you’ll be eating this on repeat.

Garden-In-Your-Mouth Sandwich

  • Ingredients:
    • 100% whole wheat bread
    • 1 tbsp. hummus
    • Sliced cucumber
    • 1-2 oz. shredded carrots
    • 1 sliced pepper (or slices of assorted peppers)
    • ½ cup of uncooked spinach leaves
    • Lowfat cheese (optional)
  • Directions:
    • Spread hummus on bread and then add ingredients to taste!
    • Enjoy with the rest of the veggies as a side, or indulge with some veggie-based chips or freeze dried fruits for a crunch.

 

DINNER

After a long day of working outside, relaxing poolside, or getting in a workout with your friends, it’s time to really feast. Indulge with your meal by picking one that is low in bad fats and carbs and instead focuses on proteins that will keep you full the rest of the night.

 

We especially love this plate because it is so easy that anyone can recreate it. You can also take it to the grill or change out the meat source to your seafood of choice! Yum!

Lemon Salmon With Summer Berry Kale Salad

  • Salmon Ingredients:
    • 1-2 planks salmon (roughly ¼ lb. to ½ lb. per person)
    • Sliced lemon
    • Salt to taste
  • Salad Ingredients:
    • 1 bunch washed kale
    • 1 bunch washed spinach
    • 1 cup sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
    • 1 cup mixed berries
    • ½ cup pecans or walnuts
    • Light raspberry vinaigrette, to taste
  • Directions:
    • Preheat oven (or grill) to 400°F
    • Salt salmon and place 2-3 lemon slices on top
    • Wrap in tin foil and cook in oven for 12-15 minutes, and discard baked lemon after cooking
    • Prepare salad by mixing ingredients evenly together and drizzling with the vinaigrette as the dressing

 

Add any of these recipes to your regular weekly meals to get back on track. At that rate, you’ll enter fall semester in a much better place, ready to make smart food decisions at your college cafeteria!

No Internship? No Problem!

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Finals are over.  You’re ready to go home for the summer and enjoy a well-deserved break. You might be enrolled in summer classes (in that case, good luck), but most college students go home for the summer. But after a week or two of catching up with old friends and family, visiting nostalgic parts of your hometown, and Netflixing all day just because you can, you start to wonder: How am I going to make this summer productive?

You may think that the obvious answer is some sort of summer job or internship, which can be really helpful for your future career or just a way to earn some extra cash.  But don’t you have to start planning in March or something to get a good one?  You probably remember one or two friends  who were applying for internships during midterms while you were thinking, “I have so much time left, so no worries . . .” Well, now summer is here.  Internships can be competitive at the undergrad level since most relevant internships require more than a bachelor’s.  Furthermore, if you’ve already procrastinated this much, your shots are slim to none.

However, not all hope is lost!  It does help to plan ahead, but that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a completely unproductive summer.

Start Looking Now!

Just because it’s possible to get a late start doesn’t mean that you want to wait forever.  Internships are probably already filled, so you’re better off looking for a job. College tends to get out before high school, so if you’re seeking a traditional summer job (such as waitressing, lifeguarding, or landscaping) to save some money, make sure you find and apply for those jobs before the high school kids.  Also, you only have a couple of weeks to even work this job, so there’s no time to waste.

Make sure you utilize all the tools at your disposal, including online job postings and scanning the town for signs — but you want to mostly rely on connections.  It’s no surprise to anyone that it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Your biggest disadvantage is that you’re probably only looking for summer work, and employers usually don’t want to waste resources training someone who is going to leave anyway.  You’ll be best off targeting jobs that dwindle come fall, like summer tourism jobs, all-day babysitting gigs, or landscaping.

Apply with Consideration

Additionally, you probably know to tailor your resume to every job, but many people completely forget a cover letter.  A cover letter can show that you really put in the extra effort to get to know the company, not to mention that you can form a coherent sentence.  That’ll be an employer’s first impression of you, so make sure that it is on point.  

Even if you have an “in” with some connections, apply anyway.  Doing so shows that you take it seriously and that you are qualified to do the job.  This might not apply if it’s an extremely informal setting, but keep this mind when pursuing jobs through the people you know.  Generally, the farther removed the employer is from you, the more likely you’ll need to submit a formal resume.  You’ll appear much more competent and professional.

Put in the Effort

It can be tempting to check out as the months wear on, especially if this isn’t exactly your dream job.  However, keep in mind that if you do well, you can reapply each year and use this as a potential recurring summer employment or even a first full-time job to help you get on your feet once you graduate.  Having consistent employment, even if it is broken up by periods of school, will show later employers that you were the type of employee to get rehired multiple times.  

Try to focus less on the fact that you’re working and more on the perks that the position gives you.  Working outside lets you enjoy the sun’s rays, waitressing means making a lot of connections, and retail can offer you some great discounts!  School will start up again soon, and you’ll wish that you were back in your summer job in no time.

What if You Can’t Find a Job?

This is a depressing reality for a lot of college students.  Even graduates are having a tough time finding jobs, let alone those still attending.  If you don’t have a diploma yet, it can make it difficult to get a more prestigious job, but minimum-wage jobs might go to high school kids before you.  If you’re stuck in a weird stage of unemployment, but need to save for next year, it’s still not hopeless.

The gig economy has been growing in recent years, and there’s no reason you can’t get in on that too.  Freelance writers, theater techies, musicians, coders, dog walkers . . . You can profit from your efforts during your preferred hours, working whatever jobs you pick.  There is an increased personal responsibility here, but the flexibility is a major perk.  Plus, it can still signal to future employers that you’re not afraid to carve out your own path.  Freelancing requires keeping track of invoices, client needs, and even your taxes.  These are great business skills regardless of your major or future job.

Summer jobs can be grueling, but they add experience to your resume and stop you from becoming an unproductive blob.  There’s nothing wrong with a little vacation, but you can have fun and be productive at the same time (though you may have to cancel your Netflix subscription for that to be truly possible).  Whether your summer jobs help with your career or just get you through to next year, it can be an extremely valuable experience.  

Make this the Best Summer Ever

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There is no off-season for champions. Those that max out their success simply move from performance to preparation. Think athletes, musicians, but also you. Students who look at the summer as their off-season miss out on a valuable time to develop themselves. Without the time constraints of going to class and studying, you now have an incredible opportunity to truly invest in yourself.

If you aren’t investing in yourself, you aren’t growing. So you can spend the four-month break between semesters on cruise control, or aggressively make moves. I was a College Athlete and much of my success came from the development I gained in the summer. Hitting the weights and working on technique lead to leaps and bounds of improvement that set me apart from others. When I connected those principles of growth to my professional and leadership development, I saw immediate results. You can spend intentional time investing in yourself during the summer to make you a stronger leader and work on developing specific habits and skills that will help you catapult your career.

I know that students aren’t often taught to work on leadership development while a student. All your focus should only be on your classes alone, right? I am a huge advocate for education and have high goals for myself as well, but your time as a student can go extremely underutilized if you don’t work on your own development in addition to gaining your education. Call it the “other” education, the social and leadership skills you need to know to understand how to use the education you gain in the classroom in the real world. If you do both, you’ll see double the results! A diploma and the leadership capabilities to make an immediate impact in your career.

There are a few ways you can catapult your development during the summer. Start with these:

Recognize Your Values and Goals

If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands during the summer (and even if you don’t) then you should spend some time identifying what is most important to you. Find your number one priorities. Identify your passions and what you truly want to accomplish in life. You know the questions, students get asked them all the time. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your major? What are you going to do with that? I remember feeling the social pressure to give a specific job title as an answer to all of these questions, and turns out I didn’t pursue any of them. The first job I had in my career was not even one that I knew existed while in High School. Don’t feel tied down to a job title unless you know that is exactly what you want to do. Instead, make a list of what you want your life to look like 10 years from now. Where do you live? What do you do? Who are you with? Be sure to think big, and review the list often so you can be committed. Those who are interested in a successful life might think about it, but don’t take any action. Those who are committed take action.

Involve the Right People and Resources

I call the people you spend the most time around your Circle of Influence. This Circle is the most influential aspect of your life. The people you spend the most time around will either build you up or break you down. Your friends help you deem what the minimum standard is for everything, how much you study, the food you eat, your habits, and more, it is all impacted by the people you are around. Reflect on the people you spend the most time around and make the decisions that will bring you closer to accomplishing your 10 year plan. If you need to find that social support through social media, so be it. I have networked with many people to help boost up my Circle so that I have higher standards. This Nix Your Limits Leadership Academy was created for this exact reason, you can find out more information here about that opportunity.

It is also important to surround yourself with the resources you need to succeed. That comes in different forms. You can foll0w successful people on social media, but be sure to watch how they do things. Watching how they work and lead is often where the most impactful lessons can be learned. You can also find blogs and podcasts that will provide valuable training and tools. There is plenty out there, you just have to look for it. Start implementing what you learn into your summer job and watch for results.

Strategize to Develop Skills and Habits

Most leadership skills and habits are universally beneficial to everyone. It doesn’t matter what career field you end up in, things like communicating effectively, personal organization, conflict mediation, and personal accountability will always serve you well. Think about people you admire because of what they have accomplished. This doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Now look at what makes these people successful. What habits do they have? How do they communicate? Use their success as a roadmap of how you can see positive results. Start developing these skills because the earlier you do, the sooner you’ll see results.

Whatever you do end up spending your time doing this summer, be the best that you can. Have the best customer service of any cashier. Be the most organized shift lead of the company. Communicate better than anyone with your boss. Today matters, and if you look for opportunities to grow, and follow through with the action, you’ll find yourself developing the skills that most are waiting until they graduate to start working on.

Execute

If you don’t execute, you don’t get results. It is great to feel motivated, read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, and look up quotes, but unless you do anything about it, you will keep seeing the same old results. Stop wasting your time and take action! Stop only asking yourself what you learned and start asking yourself what you are going to do. Those who take action get what they want. Will you?

You have incredible potential within you. There is no shortage of success. You can set goals, you can audit your circle of influence, you can make lists of habits you need to develop, but until you do something about it, you will never see the results you want. Take action this summer, even though most won’t. Those who do will start living the life of their dreams while everyone else is still out there dreaming.

8 Summer TV Premieres We Can’t Wait For

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Is your DVR ready for a big binge? It’s time to talk summer shows! Normally, we’d be a bit bummed that spring finales have finished or that our favorite show is winding down, but honestly, this summer has some of the best TV so far this year! We’ve picked our top eight. Which ones do you plan on adding to your watchlist?

 

  1. Master of None, Netflix — May 12

We loved the first season of Netflix’s comedy Master of None, so we’re pumped season 2 is back and ready to go. Aziz Ansari stars as, well, himself — a struggling actor from New York. Last season saw some major upheaval in both his professional and love life, and season 2 picks up from where it leaves with Ansari’s character traveling Italy in his signature style.

 

  1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix — May 19

Netflix really rules the summer lineup with shows that we love to binge on. We make no exception for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s hilarious, lovable, and completely uplifting. Titus, Kimmy’s roommate, and musical star wannabe, is one of the best best-friend characters on TV. We can’t wait to see what season three does!

 

  1. The Bachelorette, ABC — May 22

If it’s the summer, it’s time for another season of romance, lust, and love. We’re hooked and we don’t care who knows it. It’s a guilty pleasure that seems to get better with time. And the drama always has us coming back for more.

 

  1. The Great British Baking Show, PBS — June 16

From the name, it sounds like a bore. But this show has hooked us! Half the time we have zero idea what they are baking, but it all looks so yummy and delicious. And unlike US cooking shows, there’s no yelling, no backstabbing, no major prize either! It’s just funny, educational, and relaxing show to veg out to.

 

  1. Hooten and the Lady, CW — July 13

We have mainly stuck to old shows returning, but there are a few promising shows we have our eyes on. One is CW’s attempt at a treasure-hunting romance series featuring an aristocrat and jerky adventurer. While it may seem cliche, we like the idea of traveling the world for love and artifacts.

 

  1. Game of Thrones, HBO — July 16

The mega-hit of cable TV is galloping towards its endgame. Game of Thrones has been building tension for years, and we’re promised some big payoffs in the first half of its last season, airing this summer. If you haven’t already seen it, you’ve got a few months to catch up to the dark, gory, mystifying show.

 

  1. The Story of Diana, ABC — August 9

You could say that we’re a bit obsessed with British royalty. That’s why we’ve marked the ABC miniseries documentary on our calendar. It explores the life and death of Princess Diana with new footage and interviews. While it won’t give us answers, it will allow us to soak up her grace, beauty, and tragedy a little while longer.

 

  1. The Tick, Amazon — August 25

If you love superhero shows, you’ll most likely have mixed feelings about Amazon’s The Tick. It’s not exactly action and saving the world. The main character is a regular old accountant with zero superpowers who decides to take down the real world villains that rule his town. But you will love the awkward dialogue and outrageous sequences. It’s part humor and part ode to the summer blockbusters we love.