Summer Lovin’ (and Workin’)
Summer is here! That vast chasm between one stage of your degree and the next. Some of you are just finishing your years now, while I’m sure many of you out there have already had a month or more to yourselves! It’s very easy, having worked so hard over the year (because you did, right?), to look forward to the three months ahead and decide to let loose, chill and let the good times roll… something which I would highly recommend! You’ll yearn for those days back once full-time working life kicks in… plus you’ve worked your socks off so surely you can reward yourselves with a little break?!
That said, alongside the ‘live for now’ attitude it’s also important to keep a longer-term vision in mind during these long summer breaks. Make sure you do something productive career-wise with your summer breaks too, even if you don’t need to. Something which may not give you the same level of enjoyment as sunbathing on the beach with a few ciders, but which may allow you to do that sort of thing a bit more often in years to come. It really is a case of a little short-term ‘pain’ for potentially a lot of long-term gain. As a graduate who has found this out the tricky way, our CVs don’t write themselves, and waiting until you’ve finished your degree to kick-start your working life can easily put yourself at an instant disadvantage in the competitive job market. Living that way doesn’t make it impossible to get where you want to go by any means, but it is very likely to take a fair bit longer than you may have imagined to get there. You may end up doing jobs as a graduate that others have been able to leave behind in Sixth Form.
A degree isn’t the be all and end all; you need plenty of work experience too to help get the jobs you want once you graduate. So, free yourself from ‘graduatitis'; that sense of entitlement for jobs that only having a degree can bring, before you leave uni, and get something on the board early. If you’ve been doing a paper round and/or other little jobs since your early teens, then great! You’re already there, but more is always helpful. If you’re someone who’s a little slower off the ground in the employment world, then endeavour to take on your first role. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic if you don’t want it to be, or even anything particularly relevant to your degree subject. It doesn’t even have to be paid. An afternoon a week volunteering in a charity shop would be a fantastic idea, for one. Seek out local annual events that you could lend a hand to. Anything that allows you to develop skills you need in the workplace (team-working, initiative, communication, organisational skills etc etc) and perhaps more importantly, allows you to sell these skills to recruiters and interviewers.
In as much as taking on a little role in the summer can boost your employability, it can also do wonders for you personally. It can broaden your experience in life, give you a chance to meet new people and learn new skills and can have a very beneficial impact on your confidence. You may be able to take all of this into the next stage of your degree and put it to good use! So, by all means, enjoy your summers. Let’s all pray for heatwaves, good friends and good times. Take full advantage of the freedoms you have to live life your way for such a long time before next year starts. From someone who didn’t do this and definitely should have done, do ‘future you’ a favour and give up even only a small chunk of that time to doing something productive. It could well end up allowing you to achieve your ambitions a few years earlier!