As the city of London (hopefully) begins to warm up as the long-awaited summer holidays draw closer and closer, it comes with no surprise that some of us, despite feeling very much relieved after barely making it through a year of deadlines and exams, would feel lost and empty as to how their now empty schedule can be filled.
Whilst the often-popular definition of a productive summer break would be trying to win an internship at a firm or laboratory (bonus points if it is “prestigious”) – whether it is for the sake of trying to secure a “better” future, or simply to have a prettier-looking CV – I reckon there are so many other options that we tend to overlook.
So, let’s have a talk about this.
Try out something you have always wanted to do, but never had the time to
Based on my extensive experience with job interviews and connecting with different people, I realised that sometimes, it is actually your personal projects that help you stand out to employers as opposed to your professional work experiences (though here’s a disclaimer – I do NOT mean to say that doing those are a bad thing; in fact, if you are given the opportunity to do so, I would strongly encourage you to go for it!).
The reason why I say this is because your personal initiatives are an excellent way for you to demonstrate your originality, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. And these important traits might, arguably, be harder/trickier to showcase in more defined roles at work (again, this is just my personal point-of-view; there are definitely ways for you to demonstrate those when there is a will).
So, whether it is starting your own podcast, blog, YouTube channel, a business of your own, a fiction novel, or learning how to code, do freestyle rapping, abstract art, creative writing, public speaking, stock market investing, or perhaps trying out volunteering, freelancing, part-time jobs – the key message here is to see the world as a place that offers a myriad of opportunities, and I am more than willing to bet that you’ll soon find yourself busy and fuelled with excitement for the summer.
Or just… take a break simply because you deserve it!
There’s also the other aspect that we ought to consider too.
If you have gone through a challenging period during university term time, whether it was having to pull a few all-nighters to cram for a final exam, juggle multiple roles and responsibilities simultaneously, or you may be simply experiencing the exhaustion of having an information overload, there is absolutely no shame in binge-watching that TV series you’ve put a hold on, catching up on sleep because your body very much needs it, going on that long-awaited trip around Europe, or whatever it is that your heart has been telling you to do all these while.
Put simply, there is no defined set of rules dictating what you should or should not be doing over the summer holidays, and there is certainly no need for you to constantly push yourself to be more productive when you are already borderline burnt out. So, I would like to remind you, dear reader, that it is perfectly okay to want to take a break as well!
Till then, a big congratulations to whoever is reading this. I am pretty sure you have worked hard to have made it this far, and for that, I am proud of your achievement and resilience!