You know the college spring breaker stereotype: students who let loose and party hard, usually on a beach somewhere. However, partying isn’t your scene, or you feel like there are many more productive activities you could do during your break. There can still be time for fun and relaxation during a productive spring break, and think how much better you’ll feel — and how much better your resume will look — if you incorporate any of these activities into your time away from classes.
Spend your Spring Break helping those in need. You’ll meet new people and boost your resume. Volunteer by:
- Working at a homeless shelter distributing food, organizing activities and spending time with those in need
- Mentoring kids in an after school or daycare program
- Working with animals at a shelter cleaning kennels, exercising and loving abandoned pets
- Building or rebuilding a home — maybe overseas
- Tutoring student or adult learners
Any worthwhile activity that appeals to you, especially if it’s related to your career goals, is a wise choice. You might also use the opportunity of being home to organize a neighborhood-wide donation drive. Home owners are more likely to have things to donate than your college dormmates, particularly large item donations, such as used boats and cars, which are likely to earn a charity money with their sale.
In the months and weeks before spring break, apply for internships near your parents’ home or internships that offer temporary housing anywhere in the country — or around the globe. You’ll only have a short time to shadow a professional in a career that interests you, but that time may be long enough to get a feel for the job and make important networking connections. It’s also helpful, if finances are an issue, to limit your internship experience to a couple of weeks so you can devote your summer break to a paying job.
3. Apply for Scholarships and Awards
College is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, but too many college students forget about scholarships once they’ve begun their studies. You can get scholarships as a returning student, especially scholarships offered by outside organizations to those in your chosen career field.
Use the time off from studying to fill out applications, write essays and finish projects you’ll need to apply for scholarships. You might also use this time to apply for awards offered by your school and outside organizations alike; even if they don’t come with a financial reward, they’ll augment your resume and may help you network.
4. Visit Friends and Family
When you moved away to college, you basically started a new life filled with new people. Don’t forget about the friends and family you left behind. Not only could they continue to be an important part of your life, even if you don’t see them as often, but they may prove to be networking connections you’ll need for your job hunt after graduation. See how many are available back at home during the break and make a point of meeting at least a couple for a meal or another activity.
5. Apply for a Summer Job
What are you doing this summer? It’s not too early to know. Summer jobs go fast, especially since you’re competing with high school students, other college students and adult workers struggling to find employment. The sooner you start applying, the better, so use the last time you’ll be home before summer to meet with prospective summer employers face-to-face.
According to CNN, 36.7 percent of recent college graduates wind up “mal-employed,” which means that they do find jobs, but they’re jobs that don’t require a college degree and jobs for which they’re overqualified. Don’t waste two or more weeks of precious time you could be using to make sure you get to work in the field that appeals to you. Relax at night, but fill your spring break days with productive activities that will send your resume to the top of prospective employers’ stacks.
About the Author: Kristen Housinger is a career counselor and an active volunteer. She suggests anyone organizing a neighborhood donation drive contact Boat Angel about picking up unwanted boats.