As the semester is ending, the only thing on my mind is summer. While I wish I could spend my summer lounging around, the sad reality is that I can’t. This summer I’ll be working part-time, working two on-site internships, as well as blogging for eCampus.com. Maybe you don’t want to spend your summer like me, but there’s something everyone can do to be productive during break. The following are my recommendations for ways to have a productive summer break.
1. Work. Working allows me to save up money so I don’t have to work as much during the school year. If working part-time is the only thing you’ll be doing this summer, then you’ll still have plenty of time to relax and hang out with your friends.
2. Intern. Internships are the best way to get experience related to your field. Unfortunately, many internships don’t pay, so doing one in the summer can allow you to work without trying to juggle school and work too. But the important thing about internships isn’t the money; it’s getting real experience. Internships are also a great way to gain pieces for your professional portfolio. If you don’t know where to start looking, check out internships.com (that’s how I got this position)!
3. Volunteer. There’s nothing more rewarding than doing something good. Countless organizations take volunteers, especially during the summer. Volunteering is a way to do something you’re passionate about outside of school.
4. Study abroad. If there were one thing I wish I could do, it would be to study abroad. While it may be pricey, there are options to take care of the finances. There are numerous national study abroad programs, and your school may have its own study abroad program. Learning or working in a foreign country is a great resume enhancer.
5. Personal improvement. If the above don’t seem like your thing, you at least owe yourself some “me” time after a long semester. Start a new fitness routine, read a book, or take up a new hobby. There are endless ways to spend your summer. You don’t want to waste three months with nothing to show.
There is nothing wrong with relaxing for a few days after finals and enjoying the sun, but it is important to have a plan. The longer you sit around, the harder it will be to get back on schedule. What are your plans for making this summer the best it can be?
We’ve done it again – thanks to you! We were voted Best Website for Buying College Textbooks in About.com’s Readers Choice Awards, for the second year in a row. This makes eCampus.com the only company to ever repeat in any of the College Life awards.
When asked about the award, this is what Matt Montgomery, President and CEO of eCampus.com, had to say, “It is such an honor to receive this award once again this year. We truly appreciate all the support and positive feedback our customers have given us. eCampus.com is the oldest textbook focused e-retailer in the country and we have saved students more than $80 million since we were founded in 1999. We work hard to bring great deals and service to our customers and it’s always gratifying to receive recognition.”
The About.com Readers Choice Awards are given annually and chose by the readers to announce the best of the best. With so many websites available it can be difficult for students to know which ones are reliable, but Readers Choice Awards like this one point them in the right direction.
Thanks again for your votes!
I’m all for calling a spade a spade: your commute on the train will never be too exciting. Exciting train rides just happens in the movies.
Your commute will most likely be a lot less like this:
and a bit more like this:
This is the NJ Transit section of New York Penn Station when all the trains to New Jersey were on stand-by. Why did this happen? The backpack I got pressed up against as the herd of cattle was shuffling into gate 3 knew more about why it happened than any of the humans did. Once on the train, a conductor was explaining the problem. Too bad the PA system is as clear as New York City air.
When I came upon this crowd after a crazy day at work, I just started laughing. When problems come up, you really learn a lot about people, by their reactions of course. I started laughing hysterically. There’s nothing we can do about it and watching hundreds of people stare at a screen was just something I wasn’t expecting to see that day.
Some guys took the opportunity to talk up some pretty ladies. Many males and females in their black suits were yelling on the phone. Some people in their 20s were on their phones discussing plans with their friends. Some were calm, others panicked. It was quite a scene.
Aside from events like this, there is a lot to be said about people watching on the train.
When you get on the train, there are two options: sitting in a two-seater or a three-seater. If you sit in a three-seater, you will never even end up speaking with the person sitting with you. One person will be sitting by the window and another will the sitting on the aisle. If the train is super crowded, someone will ask to sit between you and the outside person will get up to let the stranger into the middle seat as they voluntarily wouldn’t want to sit in the middle (unless you’re me and the person sitting next to the window was a really cute boy with blue eyes who gets on the same stop you do…). Anyway, if you sit in a two-seater, you would think to put your bags on the inside and sit next to the aisle, but that’s not what people do. They sit and lean up against the window with their things on the outside. This just doesn’t seem safe so to me, so I always put my messenger bag at my feet. In a two-person seat, you have a better chance of talking with someone. I’m not sure why this is, but I have been training for three or four days a week for over a month now and this conclusion has not been disproved once.
It’s funny to see people pair up. Sometimes it’s a Chinese woman sitting next to a young man in a suit. Other times, a large man will sit next to a little guy. It’s funny to watch some people walk past seats and sit next to me as if the blonde girl sitting in front of me wouldn’t be as good of a commuter companion as I would. I always wonder what goes through people’s heads.
Sometimes though, we all think exactly the same. No one wants to sit next to the young girl spatting in a Valley girl voice about her day into her phone.
There are people to avoid on the subway too:
Although I haven’t talked to anyone on the subway since I don’t go often and when I do it’s a 10-minute ride, not the 30-40 back and forth from Jersey to the city.
I’ve met tons of people on the NJ Transit train though. It’s funny how in the morning, the train can be so full of people but so deadly silent; but at the end of the day, New Jerseyans on the train seem to open up.
I’ve met a teacher from Pakistan who was going home to see his family after a day’s work who told me to write a book. While I was writing an article on the train, I asked that man a question. I must have been speaking loudly because the young guy in the seat in front of me answered.
I’ve spoken with a marketing man who was talking about his daughter’s hopes of studying abroad. I told him he hit the jackpot of commuting companions as I told him everything he and his daughter needed to know about studying abroad in our 30 minute ride home.
I met a woman from the Phillapines yesterday who lives in Pennsylvania but was visiting friends in New York.
I talked with a blond girl about being a student and juggling classes and internships.
Some people make it clear they don’t want to be bothered as they stare at the window, sleep, put their headphones in or all of the above. Others are engrossed in a book, which sometimes leads to a nice little conversation, especially when everyone’s reading Fifty Shades of Grey. That is one hard book to read while you sit next to men in suits.
They say how much people feel alone in the mix of people in the city, but the other Tri-State area residents makes a nice little community atmosphere on the train. It’s definitely something to appreciate after cab drivers and other New Yorkers walking around the city curse you off…
Aside from the Hunger Games series, which is a book series I am all for by the way, there are tons of books that should be on your list to read while on the beach (or commuting to an internship or work).
Ever have that social awkwardness where a book in referenced and everyone laughs or adds their opinion and you are just left nodding along? Reading some classics can prevent that. If Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth are a little too high school for you, Homers The Odyssey may not be the best choice for you. Head to the library or bookstore (yes, some of those still exist) and pick up a few different classics. Look for authors Charlotte Brontë, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway. See if any of their styles appeal to you. Each of them have multiple books that have become classics, thus if you find an author you like, you can continue reading classics by that author.
If not, check out some of these classics:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Now when someone says “Big Brother is watching” or “who are you, Holden Caulfield?” you will understand what they are saying. If you’re looking to go for titles that are recently popular, you could go mainstream and keep track of The New York Time’s Best Seller List. Right now, Fifty Shakes of Grey by E. L. James seems to be what everyone is reading.
Just like music, there are classics, mainstream, and your specific taste that may take time to figure out, but when you find an author you like, it is worth it. It is just like music in this sense. You may have to listen to some things you’re not really a fan of, but just like you know within a minute or two of listening to a band, you know if you like them or not. Try to head to an updated library or a bookstore and browse. Ask someone who works there to recommend an author based on an author or two you know you like.
If you have a Nook or other eReader, in most cases, you can read a sample of a book before buying it. You can also browse and check out the books they recommend for you.
I’m all for going away. I love getting a break from campus life, and a little room to breathe. But what if that’s not possible? It’s not always practical to leave your school stomping grounds, and for whatever the reason—cost, distance, timing, you can still make the best of your time at school. Why not try relaxing and taking a little “staycation” right on your very own campus?
So how do you staycation? What does that even mean? It’s means taking a break, and having fun right where you are—no beach or resorts necessary—and all without ever leaving your college campus!
The options are endless when trying to plan a mini getaway for you and your friends all without really going anywhere. Try to spice up your regular routine and add a little fun.
It’s Friday night, everyone is out and you and the roommates are staying in. This would be the perfect opportunity for a movie marathon! What are your favorites? Chick flicks? Scary Sagas? Action Adventures? Warm up your Netflix account, dust off your pile of DVDs and grab your snuggie! To really get the night going, dare I suggest picking a pint or two of your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? This can be a girl’s night, guy’s night, bring your friend and your neighbor night, whoever, wherever, bring out the inner film critic in you and settle in for a night of movie madness.
Another great option to spice up your school stay? Have a themed night in your living room or closest dorm lounge. Why not try a pizza party, a Mexican fiesta, heck why not throw a friendly luau and hula with your friends? When you’re cramped on campus it’s all about stretching your imagination and getting the best of situations you may already be in—i.e. home on a Friday, studying in a lounge, roaming around the quad! Look up fun recipes, have an arts and crafts party to make “decorations”, go all out! It’s not like there are hundreds of your college peers watching from afar—they aren’t even on campus. This is your time to get creative.
So you’re not into costumes and umbrella drinks? No Problem! You can always get up and go out! Your school probably offers a variety of late night programming or activities. Check the schedule, find their website, or visit your programming office to get more information. If none of those work, become a local tourist in your neighborhood or city! Have you seen all the sites? Tried a few different dining favorites, or local gems? Look up the city’s visitor center—often times there will be tons of free or discounted coupons for entry into city attractions, museums, shows, etc. Another great resource if you’re looking to be surprised and to try something new is UrbanSpoon. Using this app you can find hidden restaurants and yummy places to try all just by shaking your phone! Go out on a whim and let your phone, budget or mood pick a place for you! Grab some friends and pretend you are on a real vacation trying the cuisine for the first time!
The thrill of vacations is often centered on the feeling of adventure, and trying something new. While that is all fine and dandy, sometimes the best vacations can be focused instead on “catching up” and rejuvenating. College students need sleep and time to rest. Definitely do a few, fun, and “out of the box” type of activities but also remember to take time for yourself and catch up on things that are important to you. Sleep is a big one for most students, but what about reading? When is the last time you sat down with a good book and actually read the words instead of just pretending to highlight them? Take this break time to unwind and prepare for the rest of the semester. Spring Break is here, but that means finals and the end of the semester are just around the corner. Try a few low maintenance activities like baking, or a little service in your community (walks, cleanups, soup kitchens, etc.).
The thrill of vacations can be about whatever you choose, but the joys of a “staycation” are endless! Think big and small and cater your break to fit your needs and fill any voids! Just remember to take everything with a grain of salt, your friends may be away—maybe on a beach—but they have to come home eventually and catch up on reality, you on the other hand can be snuggled up with a good book, a cupcake, watching reruns and relaxing.