By Monique Lawrence - KIPP NYC Charter School - NYC
Summer break is one of the best times of year to relax and refresh yourself. It is also a great time to gain work or volunteer experience, start a job, or try your hand at a small business. While summer is still a few months away, now is the time to start planning out what your summer will look like. Here are the top 5 things you can do the summer to better yourself for the new school year.
1. Find a summer program that explores one of your interests.
For two and a half years in highschool, I was part of a documentary education center where I learned how to shoot, edit, and present documentaries. I always had an interest in film and media so it was great to learn how media is created. Getting to actually do one of your interests will help you further understand what a career in that field would be like. Pro-Tip: Look into the summer programs your high school offers. Many include classes that tackle fun topics not taught during the year.
2. Nab a summer job.
This past summer, I got a job as a day camp teacher’s assistant. Having a job teaches you responsibility and time-management, as there is a daily agenda of things that have to be done. In addition, the paychecks earned at a summer job is a strong introduction to budgeting. Pro-Tip: After finding out what you take home, plan your budget. Allot money to cover your expenses and have fun, while making sure to put a portion of each paycheck straight into your savings. Using an app, like Spendee, can help make tracking your spending easier.
3. Sign-up for a college course or pre-college program.
Summer college courses are different than taking AP classes in high school. Summer college courses are taught in real colleges. This can help give you a feel for how college will be before even getting there. Best of all, you earn college credit, which will save you time and money in school. Pro-Tip: Most colleges, community and four-year universities, offer summer programs. Compare the programs offered by the campuses around you to find the best program.
During my sophomore year, I helped put together care packages for families in homeless shelters. It was a very rewarding experience and made me interested in finding more volunteer work. Look into volunteer opportunities close to home that you can help with. The work available can give insight into issues that are occurring in your area that you may not have even known about. Pro-Tip: Websites likes VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org have directories of volunteer opportunities. You can search by cause, location, and even apply to help with online work.
5. Get an Internship.
With school on break, summers are the perfect time to dedicate yourself to an internship. Reach out to nearby businesses or professionals that you would like to learn from. Have a resume ready to go highlighting relevant experience and write a strong cover letter detailing what you could bring to the role. If you have special interest in the company or working under the professional managing the interns, be sure to mention that in your cover letter. Pro-Tip: NextGenVest offers summer internships! Stay tuned to find out more!