Summer – sooner than you expect!

Here in the Washington DC area, it’s mid-March and we had snow again! We had so much snow coming down, in fact, that schools, and even federal government offices, closed!…. But, don’t let lingering winter weather fool you: spring and summer are around the corner. Oh, how soon the calendar will turn to the summer months! It’s nice to dream of the freedom summer brings!! 
But if you’re a student, now is the time to start making summer plans!
If you are a high school student, you may be looking at camp options (at home or away), volunteering, or the possibility of a summer job. If you are a college student, it may be work, classes, travel or internship possibilities you’ll look toward.
Either way, here are some key areas to think about so you can begin the process of making this summer one you will both value and enjoy:
1. What really interests you? What have you been wanting to do? To learn about? To explore?  
These questions can help you tap into motivation … and may lead you to ideas for jobs, internships, trips, or how to use your free time during the summer. Follow your interests and you can be sure that in September you can look back and feel really pleased about how you spent your time!
If you don’t have any idea what interests you, consider the following: What do you like to do in your spare time now? What did you enjoy most when you were younger? What types of activities have others done that have made you feel a bit jealous or particularly curious? Think out of the box – maybe it’s comics? Crafts? Hiking? Travel? Taking things apart and putting them back together? Any interests or curiosities can lead to ideas for engaging and worthwhile summer plans.
2. What are your future aspirations? What careers might interest you?  How can you use time this summer to further explore possible career directions?
Thinking ahead about possible careers can point you in the direction of many exciting and satisfying summer opportunities. A lucky student might find a job related to a career interest, whether at home or on campus. Other options include paid or unpaid internships, full or part-time volunteer opportunities, or even shadowing individuals in a field, or fields, of interest. The sooner you start investigating possibilities, the more likely you will be to find and pin down interesting options by the time summer rolls around.
If you don’t have any ideas about career direction, the summer might be a good time to explore. You could make some appointments to talk with a career counselor or coach or even set aside time to do some on-line interest assessments. You could also try on some options by setting up several varied volunteer opportunities that will benefit not only you but also the individuals or organizations you assist. Exploring career possibilities is a great way to enjoy your summer and take some steps forward all at once.
3. What do you want more time for? What skills might you want to beef up on? Anything during the school year that you found particularly challenging? Any interests you’ve missed a chance to develop during the school year?
Academic or not, the summer can be a good time to develop interests and abilities. For this, you might look into special programs, classes, tutoring or other support in developing or improving on a wide variety of skills.
Maybe you know you will need to write a good essay for a college or grad-school app and your writing needs some work. Maybe you are interested in a certain sport or some aspect of the arts or and want to further develop those skills. Perhaps you are really shy and want to work on social skills. Maybe you want to prepare for the SAT, GRE, MCATS, or just generally beef up your study skills. Maybe you have a list of books you’ve been wanting to read. Working on any of these can make up the bulk of a summer plan or can be mixed and matched with volunteering, working, traveling, or other interests for a fun and fulfilling summer.
The summer can be an exciting and enriching time! Summer can give you time for exploring future interests and adding to your list of activities that bolster your college or, learn lots, grad-school applications or your resume. It can be a time to stretch yourself, challenge yourself, try new things and have fun! So, make a little time once or twice a week for the next few months to look into summer options.  Explore internships, camps, travel, jobs, volunteer opportunities, classes or whatever captures your interest. I can assure you that if you start soon, you’ll be glad you did!

Source of image: Marin at

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