How to Stay Productive and Keep Your Skillset Sharp Over the Summer 

Summer break: it gets warmer outside, the to-do list gets shorter, and it finally feels like it’s time to relax for a while. Even though this break is well-deserved for college students, it’s important to be involved in at least one thing that will help keep your skill-set sharp. Whether that’s doing 10 minutes worth of writing every day, improving your drawing skills, or carving out a couple hours a day to learn a new coding software, we can all brush up on our concentrations each day to be ahead of the curve once a new semester starts.  

Design Team Apprentice, Charlotte Pollock

Register for an Online Course

Being a college student has its perks, one of them being able to access online summer courses. If you can get the summer course covered through scholarships or grants, it could be a great opportunity to continue your learning in a course you always had an interest in, but never got the chance to take during the regular school year. Taking the class for credit is another plus and can also help you get ahead with your studies. Utilize campus resources and see how a summer course could benefit you.  

Another great alternative is YouTube or masterclass videos. While the latter may have a small fee, it will still have a large impact on your educational and professional journey. Finding any type of course that piques your interest will keep your mind honed in on your skills. 

Digital Corps Assistant Director, Riley Paulsen, says taking advantage of these opportunities before graduation is key. 

Riley Paulsen

“One of the biggest challenges post-college is fulfilling the need to be up to date in your industry. Taking advantage of the opportunities you have in the summer is a great way to get started and get in the habit of continuing education and skills training,” Paulsen said. “It is a great chance to explore concepts creatively that you may not have time to do during the school year or at work. It is a great opportunity to try out new disciplines that you have always wanted to try that may not be a part of your degree.”

Use Your Skills to Volunteer

If you don’t have an internship over the summer and have some extra free time in your schedule, using your skills to volunteer can produce many dividends for you. Firstly, you would be making a direct impact in your community and benefiting those in need. Volunteering is also a great way to bolster your personal growth and see how you overcome challenges and encounter new opportunities for learning. It also looks great if you need something to pad your resume with. Employers love to see how you can put your skills into action to help a community or audience. Ultimately, sharing your expertise with the world is a powerful way to contribute to your growth and your community.  

Design Team Specialist, Hailey Vrolyk, volunteered at the Tommy Corral Memorial Foundation in her hometown and serves on its board. 

Hailey Vrolyk

“It’s for mental health advocacy awareness. I’ve made posters, a snapchat filter, created a motion graphic from our logo, did social media graphics, and other marketing cards for them,” Vrolyk said. “It helped me grow my portfolio, but helping them made me feel good. It gave me a new passion for my skills because it was for something close to home and for my community.” 

Do a Personal/Side Project at an Internship

Internships can be another great way to enhance your skills and a great opportunity for you to update your resume. If time allows for you outside of your normal responsibilities, taking on or creating a side project that will benefit the company would be an optimal moment for you to sharpen your skills and even strengthen your portfolio. Since side projects involve tasks or challenges outside of your normal responsibilities, this would be a chance to develop technical skills, improve communication abilities, learn more about project management, and so much more. It can also allow you to be creative and propose innovative ideas and solutions, in turn this increases your problem-solving skills and benefits the company.  

Communications Team Specialist, Taylor Staples, has plenty of internship experience and helping agencies with side projects.

Taylor Staples

“At Intersection last summer they were crunched for people to help with a project for The Muncie Visitors Bureau Guide. It is a huge magazine for everything to do in Muncie. I helped them copy edit every single description for that guide. Every business and restaurant I wrote a mini description for. They appreciated me helping with the Ball State descriptions because I knew a lot about Ball State,” Staples said. “I benefitted from this project because the client was looking for a fun voice, and it made me look over my work and have a lot of out-of-the-box thinking.” 

Ultimately, summer break should not be solely viewed as a time for relaxation, but rather as a strategic period for skill development and personal growth. By actively engaging in activities that foster learning and application, individuals can emerge from the summer break equipped with enhanced capabilities and positioned for success in their academic and professional endeavors. 

Ultimately, summer break should not be solely viewed as a time for relaxation, but rather as a strategic period for skill development and personal growth. By actively engaging in activities that foster learning and application, individuals can emerge from the summer break equipped with enhanced capabilities and positioned for success in their academic and professional endeavors. 

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