April 29, 2011
“Real Life College Student” Blog: Summertime!
Recently, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) called out to college and high students interested in blogging their college experiences and lessons learned in order to offer future students of higher education first hand facts and advice from today’s real life college setting. If you are a current college student or high school student preparing to enter college and are interested in blogging for UHEAA, please send an email to ‘email@example.com’ and we will gladly send you details.
The fifth installment in our “Real Life College Student” blog series is by Utah college student, Cole Spicker. Cole currently studies Chemistry and Spanish. He really enjoys reading, good food and great friends. He admits that he is a little obsessed with education and hopes to make lasting, positive contributions to society. We hope you enjoy this week’s blog on Summertime!
First and foremost, congratulations are in order: CONGRATULATIONS to our freshly and soon-to-be-graduated friends and classmates! It seems at every graduation—from elementary graduation to high school graduation to college graduation—there is a theme: “Graduates, you will be entering into the ‘real world’ now.” I am not sure how many times I can enter into the real world—but will most likely doing it a few more times. Graduation is a bittersweet time of life: sweet to be done with the homework and exams, bitter for the parting of ways between friends. However, several graduating and non-graduating friends have commented to me about the ominous feeling they have: “what’s next?” I hope that I can respond to this question for at least the upcoming summer.
What to do in the impending summer months? Will you be taking on a job or two to earn the big bucks? Doing an internship? Or is this a summer to relax? A few months ago, when deciding what to do with some extra time, I had a difficult time settling on what I’d like to do. I had made pro and con lists, and each decision had good and bad points. I was approached by a friend who suggested I ask myself this question: “Which of the options would be more memorable? In a decade, will you still remember the experience or not?” She suggested I take to the route that would mean most to me throughout my life and that would be a memory to cherish.
And so, I offer a few humble options: One, to get your resume beefed up, and two, to have a genuinely fun time this summer. Pay heed:
- Get a certificate. Continuing Education departments from various Utah universities offer programs in which you can become certified in an assortment of fields. Something I continue to talk about (and will forever talk about until my death), is the necessity of setting yourself apart from the rest. Having skills from diverse spheres will only enhance your resume and your life. So, get a web design and development certificate from the University of Utah. Get your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate from Weber State University. Utah State University offers an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement as well. You name it, they’ve got it. At other locations throughout Utah, you can get a concealed weapons permit or obtain a license to fly a private plane (a little burdensome on the wallet, however). For those that speak foreign languages, seek to acquire licensure as a court or hospital interpreter.
- Learn a new talent. Dedicate daily time and practice the piano, accordion, harmonica or other nifty instrument. Spend time working with new software—the Adobe Suite or Microsoft Office (I haven’t met a lot of people than can create and design databases via Microsoft’s Access!). You can also spend time at a local School for the Deaf and Blind to pick up some American Sign Language. Take some photographs or bake new masterpieces for your neighbors on a regular basis (what a great way to make new friends—everyone loves food!). Occupy your time with gardening while memorizing plants’ names and specifications. The list goes on and on. You’ll be able to impress your friends and family—and most importantly, yourself—if you dedicate time on a regular basis to master any one of these talents or skills.
- It’s never too late to find an internship. Internships offer you the chance to learn in the work place. The experience is unforgettable. You will make friend and connections that can aid you in the future. I have discussed the importance of an internship, so please feel free to review my comments. “Real Life College Student” Blog: Internships.
- Service is a great way to spend your summer. It is also SO rewarding! If you need any help finding an organization or cause that’s the right match for you, please feel free to contact me. And PLEASE read over some things that I have said about service—it’s great for your self esteem! “Real Life College Student” Blog: Be a Volunteer.
- Make a plan. Plan out your future! What will you be studying? When? What summer internships or other opportunities would you like to take advantage of? Why? What scholarships or fellowships do you see yourself applying for? Summer is a great time to begin to work on those applications! Selection committee members can easily single out those who have spent much time on their applications and supporting documents and those who haven’t. Do yourself a favor and begin to work towards those goals.
- Do something fun and extraordinary (and it doesn’t have to be costly either), something you can tell your friends, family and grandchildren in the years to come. I know what I’ll be doing this summer: skydiving!
- If all else fails (which it won’t!), spend time writing. Being able to communicate effectively is of the utmost importance as you enter in the work force—no matter the job. Careers from all arenas—from movie stars to janitors, from CEOs to hamburger flippers—necessitate polished communication skills. Write an op-ed piece for your local newspaper and submit it. Write an essay and submit it a friend or teacher for review. Having the ability to communicate effectively and concisely is a seemingly lost art. You may even consider joining your local Toastmasters club to refine your speech.
Well, there you have it: a practical guide to a successful and eventful summer. However, I am anxious to hear about your summer plans. Feel free to comment below with any additional comments or summertime opportunities you know of. Thanks!
If you have any questions or comments for Cole, please add them using the comment box below and he will gladly reply.
Posted by: blee
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