How College Students Can Maximize Summer Break for Career and Education Advancement

Sean Wu // The Watchdog

As a college student, you may feel that summer breaks are for catching up on sleep and binge-watching your favorite shows. However, you can transform these precious months into an exciting journey of self-discovery and career growth. The following activity ideas will not only add value to your resume, but also provide a unique and attention-grabbing story that sets you apart from your peers. 

Embark on a Skills Expedition 

Instead of attending traditional workshops or conferences, consider a skills expedition – an immersive journey that combines travel with learning. Take part in workshops or courses abroad that relate to your field, such as a culinary retreat in Italy, a programming boot camp in San Francisco or a sustainable architecture course in Denmark. These experiences will not only expose you to different cultures and perspectives, but also demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning and personal growth. 

Master the Art of the Side Hustle 

The gig economy offers an opportunity to experiment with your passions and test your entrepreneurial spirit. Launch a side hustle during your summer break, such as designing and selling merchandise, offering freelance services or starting a YouTube channel. By managing your own venture, you’ll acquire transferable skills like marketing, time management and financial planning, which can make you stand out to future employers. 

Go on a “Job Safari” 

A “job safari” involves spending your summer break exploring various roles within your industry or field of interest through short-term internships, job shadowing or informational interviews. This unconventional approach will allow you to understand different career paths and identify your true passion. By engaging with professionals in diverse roles, you’ll gain valuable insights, expand your network and develop a well-rounded perspective of your industry. Landing internships can be challenging, especially with little experience or while still in high school. However, there are resources available for finding internships, such as InternMatch or

Create a Passion Project 

Combine your interests and skills by dedicating your summer to a passion project. Whether it’s starting your own business, developing an innovative social media campaign for a local non-profit or designing a wearable gadget for fitness enthusiasts, choose a project that excites you and demonstrates your abilities. This unique endeavor will not only showcase your creativity and problem-solving skills, but will also serve as a talking point during job interviews. 

Participate in a Hackathon or Case Competition 

Hackathons and case competitions offer an intense, exhilarating platform to challenge yourself and collaborate with like-minded individuals. By participating in these events, you’ll develop practical skills, enhance your problem-solving abilities and create innovative solutions to real-world problems. Winning or excelling in these competitions can also provide you with credibility and recognition within your industry. To find hackathons or case competitions, sites like HackerRank can be useful.

Dive into the World of Mentorship 

Seeking mentorship from professionals in your field can open doors to new opportunities and provide valuable guidance. However, consider flipping the script and becoming a mentor yourself. Volunteer to mentor younger students, peers or even people in your community who need guidance in your area of expertise. By sharing your knowledge and experience, you’ll demonstrate leadership and empathy – two qualities that are highly valued by employers. To find mentorship opportunities, sites like MentorNet and SCORE can be helpful. Bellevue College also has several mentorship opportunities available for BC students. 

Summer breaks present a unique opportunity for college students to explore unconventional avenues for personal and professional growth. These activities can help students enhance their resumes and stand out to future employers. So, rather than just “sleeping” your way through summer, take charge of your growth and development. Take a break from binge-watching and seize the opportunity to shine like the summer sun with these creative endeavors!