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10 Ways to Fight Summer Boredom

We all know that when it comes summer and everything is winding down, it can be pretty easy to slip into the feeling of not wanting to do anything.  However, once you’ve arrived at that point, it doesn’t take long until not doing anything morphs into being bored.  While it is perfectly acceptable to feel that you have deserved a break after duking it out with the school year, don’t let too much of a “good” thing bore you down!  Try some of these ideas to still maintain the freedom of a vacation, but also keep your summer exiting and memorable.

1. Travel

Planning a fun road trip with some high school friends, or perhaps college friends who live nearby, is a great option and relatively inexpensive if you split the gas cost amongst four or five people.  Another alterative could be driving to visit other friends a few cities away, which then provides you with a place to stay overnight without having to pay hotel/motel fees.  Or, if you’ve decided to save up for a travel splurge, going abroad or flying domestically – either to tour or visit friends – is very rewarding and calls for a great way to spend some of your vacation.

2. Get a Job

While working isn’t always the ideal way to spend a summer, the money racked in can more than make up for it.  A summer job doesn’t necessarily have to be related to retail or food service.  There are a lot of opportunities to make good money but also enjoy what you’re doing (but that’s not to say that some retail and food service jobs will never meet that criteria!).  Working at a day camp or water park is a good option if you like working with kids.  You can serve either as a counselor or a lifeguard, be able to relax in the sun all day, but still earn your keep.  Babysitting is another viable option if you have the qualifications and the ability to reach out to your community as a trusted sitter.

3. Do Some Summer Cleaning

If you’re one of those people (like me!) who enjoy cleaning out that cluttered basement or garage, take on one of those projects this summer.  It’s a great way to be on your feet and concentrate on a worthwhile task at the same time.  Once the space is cleared, you can even decorate and make the place more “live-able”—who knows, you might have just created a new summer hangout spot!  Even better, your parents may offer to pay you a small sum for the service.

4. Make Some Money off of Your Clutter

Once you’ve cleaned out that living space, you’re probably going to find a lot of old furniture/toys/clothing that you don’t really need anymore (or didn’t even remember having as a kid!).  Talk it over with your parents and see if a garage sale might not be a bad idea.  Other options for your nicer furnishings are to take them to a consignment store in your area.  These stores will typically accept and display your belongings on the storefront for a specified amount of time (perhaps 60-90 days on average) and cut you part of the profits if they sell.  Many other thrift stores will pay you cash on the spot for your items (usually in the clothing and toys category).  Hop online and type in those keywords and your zip code to find such places near you.

5. Earn Money by Taking Surveys

On those slow days when you’re not sure what to do, and feel like making some extra cash, enroll in a few online survey websites that pay you by check or by PayPal for the redemption of a certain amount of points.  This is fun if you already love sharing your opinion.  However, always check first to make sure the site is legitimate (there are scams out there, after all).  The best way to do this is by searching for reviews online by people who have used the site, and likewise by checking the Better Business Bureau website for accreditation.  Once you find the right survey site, you can take multiple questionnaires that may award you points immediately so that the site knows what kind of surveys to match you up with.  It is also recommended by survey takers that you join multiple panels to yield better results and increase the amount of surveys that you qualify for (you will screen out after the first few questions if your answers don’t match the type of person the survey giver wants).  Despite that, if you put the time and effort into it, you can rack up enough points that can be redeemed for a cash payout, or other type of reward.  Just make sure you understand how each site regulates their points/payout system, and you’re good to go!  You won’t get rich off of this by any means, but you may make some spending money.

6. Take on a Crafting Project

I’m also one of those people who love being creative.  One of my early summer projects this month was making a T-shirt quilt out of some old shirts I found shoved into the back of my dresser.  Seeing as I already had sewing materials, the shirts, and one black throw blanket to sew them onto, it only cost me approximately $15 to complete:  $10 for another black throw to sew as the back of the quilt, and $5 for some quilt batting from the local crafting store.  It’s an excellent way to keep yourself busy and make something useful at the same time!

7. Exercise

Whether it’s joining a local gym for the summer, jogging around the neighborhood, or exercising at home, keeping active is a great way to avoid gaining weight during a summer of being stagnant, and to promote positive energy and self-esteem.  Exercising outside especially helps you to get a safe amount of sun (as long as you monitor how long you’re outside and make sure to wear sunscreen) and release more endorphins.  Make it a group activity when you can as well.  Exercising in a social setting can make the act of exercising in itself more enjoyable and doable.  And in the end, who doesn’t want to come back to school in the fall looking their best?

8. Attend a Seminar or Workshop

If there’s something you’re really interested in but don’t have time to pursue at school, summer is the perfect opportunity to let that interest take hold.  If you like art or writing, for example, take some summer writing workshops or art classes that may be offered at your local library or on a nearby school’s campus.  Explore something you’ve always wanted to try, but just never had the time to.

9. Explore the City

I never knew how many attractions were available in my own hometown until after I had already gone away to college.  When I came home for my first summer, many of my college friends who were also from my hometown (but had attended other high schools), showed me a wide array of places I had never been to.  Keep an eye out for areas of town that have great restaurants, bars, and clubs for that fun Friday night with your friends—but also check for some good theatre, museums, and concerts that you may have never known existed.  Larger city parks (like, for me, Forest Park in St. Louis) usually house more than one of these attractions, so just by traveling to one area you can discover a multitude of fun activities.  But as always, remember to stay in a group if you’re in an unfamiliar part of town.  Be safe—while also being classy!

10. Take Some “You” Time!

While it’s great to have an eventful summer, remember to relax and focus on you.  Some alone time can be a good thing.  Keep a journal, decorate your room, shop around the mall—do something that you enjoy that doesn’t necessarily have to be done with other people all the time.

Your entire summer shouldn’t be limited to these ten things, but the most important concept is making sure that you maintain an active summer but also get that feeling of elation.  After all, you did make it through that school year; perhaps you didn’t get all the grades you wanted, or perhaps you were more stressed out than you would have liked.  But regenerating over the summer can certainly lead to a more positive school year in the fall.  The more relaxed and prepared you are for the upcoming semester, the more successful you will be.

 

 

How to Score an Internship

College students are hard pressed for time; that’s why it’s so difficult to prepare for events a few months in advance. Although school keeps you busy, just remember that the main reason you’re attending college is to get a better job after graduation. Besides good grades and extra-curriculars, a part-time internship is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Internships allow students to get a taste of what it’s like to live in an office and understand the ins and outs of the workplace. Although a lot of degrees require an internship, it’s never too early to head start (that’s right, I’m speaking to you Freshmen). Having more than one internship under your belt makes you look all the sweeter!

You can always go to your university career center for advice on places to intern. However, if you are anything like me, you have no idea where the career center is, and don’t have the time to schedule an appointment to talk about your interests with a random adviser you’ve never met. There are many different ways to find an appealing internship, even if you don’t know what career you want to delve into. Here are a few tips and ways to find internships between eating ramen and cramming the night before a test:

Make a Flawless Resume and Cover Letter. In order for employers to take you seriously, your resume must be written to perfection. If any grammatical errors exist, you will more than likely not even be considered. Don’t freak out though (it’s only your future career at stake), just take some quality time on it, and have others (that you trust) make suggestions/corrections to create the best resume you can. Consider the same steps for your cover letter, making sure you are showing this possible employer you can fulfill their needs.

Networking. This is one of the most important things you can do while in college. Knowing someone in a company you’re interested in can easily get you a foot in the door. Network through previous employers, teachers, friends, and even other family members. If face-to-face doesn’t suit your style, there’s a little thing called social networking. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+ and talk to people about what position you’re looking for. There is bound to be someone along the way who can send you in the right direction.

Attend Job Fairs. Employers know that there are students looking for jobs, especially those who are Juniors and Seniors. Make sure you stand out at these–no, that doesn’t mean you should wear a plaid suit–by showing employers your interest. Be confident and do your research on the companies that intrigue you. Asking the right questions about a company will make representatives remember you, rather than just being a name in a stack of papers.

Look at Multiple Job Site Search Engines. There are plenty of websites out there such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, LinkedIn.com, SimplyHired.com, Craigslist.com, etc. These will give you an idea if any particular employers are looking to hire, what kind of job postings there are, and what jobs are available in your area. These are great resources for finding opportunities you may have never considered.

Happy Hunting!

 

Willhelm

I’m reading Campbell Biology

Awesome College Jobs

Awesome JobWhile in college, students are always looking for a way to stay ahead of the game. One of the best ways to get a leg up over other recent graduates is to have some work experience under your belt. Although it’s possible to have a full-time job while in school, a stellar part-time internship can get you similar experience with half the work.  So instead of giving you a parental-esque rant, I came up with a list of awesome college jobs that would provide great real world experience. They are so cool that they might be out of reach for some, but at least it gives you something to shoot for!

1. Human Resources at Procter & Gamble.  Work with the HR department and help them with the current issues facing the department, along with issues facing other operation groups. This is great for a college student pursuing a career in Management or HR that wants to gain valuable experience with managerial tasks, along with leadership training. The pay is minimal, but there is much to learn while working at this Fortune 500 company. Getting offered a full-time job after your internship is pretty common, so work hard! This can really set you apart from other employees when starting your career path straight out of school.

2. Social Media Consultant at Chess Media Group. Since most of our generation has taken social media by the horns, why not get paid to help businesses with it? Social media consultants help business cultures stay in touch with their customers at a grass roots level. This is an ideal job no matter what career you are looking for; you will gain in-depth experience on how to organize market research and programs, optimize web content for the right people, and work in a team environment to complete objectives. The pay is vague depending on the location, but this is a booming field where our generation totally has a leg up on our elders.

3. Aquatic Team at Disney. Experience everything from analysis of fish health to studying the behavior and cognition of mammals. This internship is a great way to open doors for those interested in zoology, animal science, or a related field. Everyone and their mother knows about Disney,  so you’ll definitely gain notoriety. More importantly, Disney is well known for compensating their interns well. You can gain a vast amount of experience from knowledgeable researchers. You will also be presenting material to guests, gaining valuable speaking experience. If you aren’t wanting to be a zoologist, Disney also has plenty of other opportunities depending on what field you’re interested in.

4. Brand Ambassador at Anheuser-Busch. This has got to be one the greatest jobs for college students. Brand ambassadors try to convince people to use or sample your product. Wine and spirits brand ambassadors are most common around college campuses; I’m sure you’ve seen them in clubs and bars. The pay is around $400/week, which is pretty great pay for anyone in college. Social events and major discounts are just a few perks that are included. Sales will be your main focus, so companies are looking for people that are extremely outgoing. The only requirement is that you’re 21.

5. Financial Representative at Northwestern Mutual. Northwestern Mutual prides itself as having the best student internships for the past 14 years in a row. Learn all the aspects of running sales from knowledgeable veterans, create your own schedule that is tailored to your needs, help satisfy clients, and succeed as a financial representative. Your pay is based upon the number of appointments you have and how successful you are with those appointments. You are guided and pushed to work hard, but this type of work will help with interpersonal skills within a team environment.

6. Wall Street Journalist. Most journalism majors write for their school newspaper. Why not take that to the next level and work for a national publication like the Wall Street Journal? The pay is about $700/week, so if you’re one of the lucky 15 they select, rent money will no longer be a problem. You’ll be a full-on journalist, writing about specific topics that have peaked your interest as a writer. Talk about some great work experience.

7. Designer at Electronic Arts. Work with engineers and graphic designers to create the latest and greatest video games. There aren’t many opportunities to intern at smaller video game studios, so you should probably aim at a larger company like Electronic Arts. Be creative and use your programming skills to produce something your parents will be proud of and your friends will enjoy. EA provides top of the line training for interns and new hires. Pay varies based on what job you are assigned to.  Not many interns can say they helped create the first person shooter your entire dorm room is playing!

8. Consulting at Accenture. Develop your analytical skills in a fast paced environment, while finding unique solutions for your clients. Accenture has a great corporate culture; they even provide career path consulting to interns! There are ample opportunities to make a great name for yourself; as you will be working with decision makers from many different industries. The pay depends on your role as a consultant, whether you’re involved in management consulting as an intern, or as part-time focus group participant.

9. Business Internship at Google. Google has implemented an internship for business students who may not want to become a software developer. The internship gives students an opportunity to work with one of the best companies in the world. Depending on your major, you will be placed in one of their corporate locations and work alongside an experienced mentor. You’ll gain valuable knowledge and learn innovative strategies from one of the best in the business. The pay is competitively based, so the harder you work, the higher your pay will be. If I could work anywhere to impress any future employers, this would be the place.

10. General Electric Engineering Co-op.  Work with colleagues on the newest technologies from wind energy to mechanical systems. This job gives you real world experience with product research, planning, and strategic development while keeping an eye on customer service. Interns receive the same benefits as full-time employees. They also pay a competitive salary, where income is based on performance and success in your field. It’s GE, I mean who honestly does not have at least one of their appliances in their house?

 

Willhelm

I’m reading Psychology