31 Ways To Make The Most of Your Last Ever Summer
We all know that the second year of university is just the worst. You’ve left halls, you’ve moved in with some idiot from your wild module and you had to spend a year ignoring, and then paying heavily, for an endless list of bills. But at the end of all this comes the gorgeous second year summer. And don’t forget; it’s your last.
After two years being independent and growing up you’re agonizingly close to becoming an adult. But before then, you have a few other things to get done:
1. Go out for three nights in a row.
At uni you’ve got a little thing called coursework to get done. And in the real, working world speaking to Mike about the coffee running out at 9am with a hangover just isn’t worth it.
2. Meet all of your uni friends in their hometowns.
Even if you pick up a part-time job you’ve got time over your 6 weeks to visit uni friends around the country. Free accommodation and the chance to embarrass them in front of their friends and family? Priceless.
3. And visit all your home friends in their new, fresh final year pads.
Everyone learns their accommodation lesson in second year. Your friends from senior school will now be around the country in their relatively stunning new houses so no need to sleep in a hallway any more.
4. Go to a festival.
Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading & Leeds, Green Man, Creamfields, etc.
5. Can’t afford a festival? Volunteer at one.
Permitting you party enough to compensate for clearing up Strongbow boxes.
6. Do a European city break.
Dubrovnik, Krakow, Budapest… all a lot cheaper than you’d expect.
7. Read a long book, you definitely have the time.
Never again will you have the free time to finally read ‘Moby Dick’.
8. Prepare for your upcoming modules.
Final year is stressful enough without having to read 4 books a week. Email your lecturer, get a reading list and get ahead.
9. Think about what interests you the most about your course.
Flash forward to February and you’re on your lecturer’s chaise longue and he asks: “so, what will your dissertation be on?”
10. Write a CV
Struggling? Here’s a template.
11. Put some thought into further education.
Have you exhausted education yet? Decide now; don’t use an MA as a last minute option to continue uni and pound-a-pint nights.
12. Calculate your grades so far and set targets for the next year.
You’ve got a full year of irreparable grades behind you so now is the time to decide what you’re aiming for. Resting on a 58? Time to do some work.
13. Speak to as many graduates as you can.
At uni you’re caught in a bubble of like-minded students, over-achieving academics and enthusiastic sabbatical officers who never wanted to leave. While you’re home speak to some recent grads who are in the working world. It’s good to get some perspective.
14. If you have an older sibling, speak to them.
They’re there for a reason.
15. Language camp.
Put your Pavlov and Carl Jung books to the side and dedicate time to learning something new. There are a number of language camps around for you to go abroad, improve your language skills, your employability skills and meet new people from around the world. Or you could go to Vodka Revs every Thursday and Saturday.
16. Do an internship.
The word that thuds every student. Yes, it’s unappealing and yes, you’ll probably receive minimal pay, but in a year’s time when it’s your 2.1 against another person’s 2.1, your 2 weeks at a PR agency will put you miles ahead.
17. Basically try to get any experience you can. This will help.
It will all help palliate the 21st century catch 22 of not being able to get work experience because you don’t have work experience.
18. If you’re not already a member of a society, make a list of ones you want to join.
Your final year will be your last chance to be in a massively sociable environment. You will never be able to learn salsa when you’re working 9-5.
19. Work out what you are good at and also what you aren’t.
Maybe you realise you have no computer skills, chances are your uni will have someone to help solve that. Or what if you realise your skills are ideal for a career in Marketing, go and speak to your careers adviser about your options.
20. Send a speculative email to a company you admire.
Even if you don’t get the reply you were hoping for at least you will get a name and a point of reference to return to in the future.
21. Do something creative.
Without realising it you might have developed some new skills over your first two years at uni. Write an article for an online publication, make a short movie, choreograph a dance to an N’Sync song. University is conducive to creativity so make use of it.
22. Clear your room out.
Your parents will never openly tell you how much they want that wardrobe space in your bedroom. It’ll fill you with nostalgia, but when you’re done you’ll feel refreshed and ready to move on.
23. Sign up for jobs newsletters.
Google ‘X career’ and ‘job’ and ‘newsletter’. Even if you don’t see anything straight away you will learn some job titles to research and see whether they fit your own ambitions.
24 . Start researching graduate schemes. It may seem early, but you’ll be surprised.
You will typically need to apply for these by the following February so it’s worth thinking about now. Imagine graduating in July, knowing you have a job lined up in September. Leaving you with an extra summer next year to enjoy while everyone else is busy job hunting.
25. Play sport in the sun.
And not just for the two weeks Wimbledon is on. Once you’re busy in employment you’ll struggle to find the time – or the energy.
26. Renew your railcard for the long haul.
That £70 investment for a 3 year card may equate to two weeks budget but the rewards are endless.
27. Moderate your ambitions.
Your favourite singer spent 10 years gigging and working in a carpet shop and your favourite actor was a waiter during his or her twenties. If there’s any time to get over the fact you won’t win a MOBO award it’s now.
28. Say goodbye to people leaving for Erasmus.
Your third year means it’s their Erasmus year. Make sure you say goodbye properly – not just a drunken hug outside of McDonald’s.
29. Get into a routine.
Wake up early, go bed at a decent hour, exercise and socialise. The last thing you want is to waste your summer lazing around, because before you know it it’ll be over.
30. If you’re thinking of working abroad after graduation, you should start looking into it around about now.
Select countries, view the VISA process and what opportunities are out there. Some locations may take a while and doing it last minute could mean you miss out. Being ahead will also give you time to organise and save money.
31. Make sure your parents understand the struggle.
They probably left school at 16, worked for a few years and were able to buy a 3 bedroom house at the age of 21. Times have changed and your parents should understand that as much as you.
Basically, just prepare yourself for the fact that this time next year you could be anywhere. But chances are you won’t have 3 solid months off, so make the most of it.