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How to Make the Most of your College Summers

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After successfully completing the first year of college, students are faced with the task of deciding how to spend their time over the three-month break during the summer. Some use the time to rest up and revitalize in preparation for their sophomore year. Still others work, travel, take classes and begin internships. This post is designed to help students be aware of all the options at their disposal as they are barreling through their college career.

WORK

Take the summers in college to save some money for classes, books or a spending account. Working during the summer provides valuable skills for future years to come, even in minimum-wage jobs, and can show future employers you have acquired traits or skills that they look for in interns or potential employees. Take, for example, a job in retail or as a teller at a local bank. Both of these teach valuable communication, customer-service and time-management skills.

Several employers, such as Home Depot, Wells Fargo, The Gap, Bank of America and UPS offer tuition reimbursement if you work with them for a designated time. For example, after six months, Wells Fargo provides up to $5,000 of tuition reimbursement annually.

REST

Rest and recoup during your college summers! There will be very few times in your life that you can simply relax and choose to do what you want. The possibilities are endless. Take a hike go fishing, attend a music festival or spend the day in Dallas — you’re sure to find something out of the daily routine. Making memories with friends and family is what life is all about.

INTERN

If you can find an internship in an applicable field, take it! Future companies down the line will be more impressed by an internship than no internship at all. Fully use resources such as Comet Careers, the Career Management Center and your professors to increase the odds that you will obtain one of the highly coveted internships. Keep your eye on the prize and your expectations low. It’s extremely difficult to obtain a top internship as a freshman, mainly due to lack of classes and skill necessary for entry into one. However, UT Dallas has tremendous resources on hand to give you the best possible shot at obtaining one. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family. Networking is to key to starting out and succeeding in business and those close connections are the initial steps in procuring one.

VOLUNTEER

If you don’t feel like working, utilize the time you have during your college summers to help out the community! There are hundreds of great organizations and causes that need the help of individuals to make a difference. You can spend your time helping out at places like local food banks, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, dog shelters; the list goes on. If you feel passionate about a cause, pursue it. Employers love to see individuals who are committed to causes within the community.

TAKE CLASSES

Taking core classes at a community college over the summer is a great way to knock out credits at an affordable price. It can help ensure you graduate on time and enables you more flexibility in taking major specific classes at your university.

The most important thing to realize as a freshman is that you will have more time and flexibility now then later on in your collegiate career. Don’t stress if you don’t get an internship as a freshman. There are some tremendous resources at your disposal for you to use to make sure you get the maximum use out of your time this summer, the ones listed above barely scratching the surface of what you can do with your time. The most important take-aways from this post are to be productive with all the time you have at your disposal, rest up for sophomore year and go make some memories.

Patrick Sarman

Patrick Sarman is a sophomore pursuing his B.S. in accounting and is a member of the Dean’s Council. He spent his freshman year interning full-time at Texas Capital Bank and plans to attend law school at the University of Virginia after graduation. Read more articles

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