Summer Plans – How to spend your summer away from University

Owen Havercroft, BA International Business Management with Study Abroad student, shares how you can make the most of your summer by focusing on personal development.

Arts Tower from Weston Park

Summer. For most of us, it's a time for chilling out and finally catching some sun, but when you're a university student, it's also a golden opportunity to gain practical experience, boost your skills, and get ready for the next academic year.

During my first university summer, COVID-19 placed the world on pause. My dreams of internships got shelved, and were replaced by days spent at home alternating between studying and dreaming of going out with friends again. When the next summer rolled around, I was soaking up my year abroad experience and the last thing I wanted was to get tied down in any kind of work. But as I started my final academic year, the importance of a good internship hit me.

Internships aren't just a line in your CV. They're a sneak peek into the industry you're interested in and a chance for you to apply what you’ve learned at University. When it's job-hunting season, this will undoubtedly give you the upper hand. But, despite all my frantic applying, I found it hard to secure one. Looking back, I see how my CV lacked that sparkle that employers look for.

So, I changed my approach. I started focusing on improving my CV as opposed to applying to endless jobs. Soon after, I landed part-time roles that allowed me the flexibility to work, travel, and enjoy my summer. I also found time to volunteer – a great fall back if you can't find an internship, but still want to show potential employers you've got initiative. Don't get disheartened if you're in your final year and haven't found an internship. If it wasn’t too later for me, it won’t be for you, trust me! I personally recommend Targetjobs and Bright Network to look for work opportunities.

But remember, summer isn't just about jobs and internships. It's the perfect time for personal development. I used my summer to learn a new language, a skill that’s already adding value in my current job. Even a few dedicated hours each week can boost your skills and show future employers you're serious about growth.

Image of Owen Havercroft studying in a cafe

 And of course, don't forget to kick back and relax. Catch up on Netflix if you haven’t, already explore new places, even if they’re nearby, hang out with friends and family. After all, it's all about balance. A productive summer doesn't mean you give up your spare time, you can do both. Trust me, your future self will thank you for it!

Image of Owen Havercroft at a park

As I wrap up my university journey, I realise that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to spend a university summer. The ideal summer (in my eyes) is a blend of gaining work experience, honing personal skills, and recharging for the next academic term. Reflecting on my journey, it’s been a mix of all these, shaping me both professionally and personally. No matter where you are in your university life, remember, your summer breaks are stepping stones, use them wisely and watch them brighten your future.

Written by Owen Havercroft.

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