I really like this classy clubhouse at Pebble Creek Apartments in Mustang, Oklahoma (by Oklahoma City) (Taken with instagram)
For most, school is over, or just about. At this point, you’re probably gearing up for a summer semester, or preserving your sanity by taking the next three months “off.” If you are like the average college student (or high school student) you likely don’t have loads of dollar bills just waiting to be invested in some fancy trip all around the world.
Despite your financial destitution, there are still plenty of things you can do to make your summer worthwhile.
1. EXCEL AT YOUR JOB, OR FIND A JOB OR INTERNSHIP
Without the common distractions of school, you are now in the position to make a real impression at school. Whether you work at a fast food restaurant or an investment firm, there’s always room for improvement. Even if it’s not your “career” job, you can still work your tail off, turn some heads, get a promotion, and make some serious cash. If you feel obligated to hate your job because it’s “dead-end,” just remember that when you get the opportunity to move to something better, your potential new employment may very well rest in the hands of your old supervisors. Do a good job so that you can put them on your resume as a reliable contact who you know will say, “Sally Jo was a great employee.”
If you are a web developer, programmer, or anything of the like, you’re pretty much set. Everyone is looking to hire in that area. The best part about those jobs is that you can teach yourself what you need to know in order to get hired. Granted, you’ll have to be very determined and dedicated, but as long as you’re willing to do that, you shouldn’t have a lot of obstacles in gaining employment.
The beginning of summer is a great time to evaluate where you are in life and where you want to go next. What’s the most important thing I could do right now? As you figure out the answers to the tough questions about where you are and what you’re doing, you’ll find a solid direction for where you might get a job. A temporary or transitional job might be best if you are just between semesters and you take on a huge workload during the fall and spring semesters. However, if you’re getting closer to the end of your college education and/or you feel knowledgeable enough, you can get out there and be very picky about finding employment with a company whose mission is aligned with your career goals.
One great option is to find an internship. Now, this probably should have been done in February or March, but you should still be able to find a few opportunities, especially if you use your school’s resources to find that information. Be open to new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to take an internship that might not be exactly in your field of choice. You’ll be surprised at how much everything applies to everything. You could come away from an internship with insight into your industry that not many others have.
2. HONE YOUR CRAFT
You don’t need to take classes to get an education. If you are passionate about what you want to do (which means it’s the thing that you do when you have nothing to do), you should have no problem spending some quality time looking up valuable bits of information and research regarding your future profession. Continue to learn outside the classroom. Give yourself a leg up. Know what classes you’re coming back to in the fall and try to learn everything you can about those topics. If you’re taking an HTML5 class in the fall, go buy a book or get online and start teaching yourself. It’ll take a lot of stress off come August.
3. GET FIT
Most of us don’t practice our best health habits during a school semester. In fact, our junk food intake is probably doubled or tripled come finals week. Summer is a great time to work off all that accumulated flab.
Everybody makes New Year’s Resolutions, but I think that students should make Summer Resolutions. The New Year for most of us is just more school, more stress, and more time constraints. Summer is different. Summer is a real change.
Set some physical fitness goals. We can all agree that carbonated beverages are probably not helping you get any slimmer, especially when they come in the form of 2-3 64 ouncers a day. Start by quitting or cutting back on your unhealthy food intake. If you aren’t ready for a cold turkey quit, start by cutting out half of your unhealthy intake. Whether it’s cigarettes, sodas, or french fries, dropping 50% of that will make you feel a whole lot better.
Pick up a physically demanding sport. If it requires a couch and a controller, it’s not a sport, I’m sorry. Mass Effect can wait, your body can’t. The older you get, the more difficult it will be to integrate healthy practices into your lifestyle.
Be realistic. If your current lifestyle is “video games, junk food, video games,” don’t try and change everything all at once. It’d be like trying to tie both of your shoes at the same time. Start by cutting down on the video games by a few hours, followed by not as much junk food as usual. Once you’ve accustomed yourself to that, cut back again. It helps me to try and stick to time periods as we’ve already established them. For example, I do things one week at a time. I’ll cut back for 7 days before I cut back again.
As far as working out goes, if you need to get into a routine, first figure out what time of the day works best for you. You should pick a time you can reserve every weekday at least. For me, it’s the mornings. If I can get up around 6 or 6:30am, I can put in a decent workout in just 30-40 minutes that gets me ready and energized for the day. For a lot of people I know, they like to workout as part of their evening routine. They sleep better after a good workout. Figure out what works for your schedule first.
After you’ve figured out your schedule, you’ll need a workout routine. There is a multitude of online resources teaching you what to do and how to do it properly. Depending on what results you want, there are different plans for you. As a general rule, remember that just cardio or just strength probably won’t be enough on its own. A nice, even balance will yield the highest result. My goals have been to lose stomach fat and build muscle. I received sound advice from an expert and we figured out a routine where I would do short, intense strength conditioning, then a quick quarter-mile run. 5 reps working my legs, 5 reps on my stomach, and 5 reps on my arms and chest, then off to the races. Run and repeat 3 times. That’s about a 30-40 minute workout. Top it off with a high-intake of protein (a shake or some eggs), and my body will continue to burn fat throughout the day, hours after my workout has ended.
That’s a program that works for me. Everyone will have different routines that work based on body-types and end goals. Your local gym might even offer a free consultation, which could be a good way to get the most personalized plan for you.
The best part about getting into a solid workout routine is that you will be much more likely to stick to this routine when school starts up again. When you’re working out, you’re more motivated to eat healthy, get good sleep, and be more responsible. While that may sound like you’re losing out on all the “fun,” what you are getting in return is way more beneficial than the small sacrifices you may have to make.
So, there you have it. Get out there and make good use of your time.
What are your summer plans? Share them with us in the comments below!
Mckay Stevens is a full-time writer & media specialist at Vacancy.com.
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