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college students in the summer

Just because classes are finished for the summer doesn’t mean you should turn off your mind until the fall semester starts! View your time away from the classroom as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and further expand your growing knowledge base.

You might even be able to gain some valuable experience that can assist you when the time comes to embark on your career path. Here are a few ways you can keep your brain sharp over the summer and maybe even have a little fun in the process!


Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about different people, places and culture while giving you a whole new perspective about the world. Even if you limit the scope of your travels to within the United States, you can still learn a great deal about the rich history of our nation.

If you don’t want to spend all of your time traveling and/or need to work over the summer, another option is to pursue a summer job in a national park or other location. You will have access to enriching educational/cultural opportunities.


If you’re more of a homebody, you can use your summer break to catch up on your reading. Immerse yourself in classic works of literature or read about areas of the world you hope to visit at some point.

You can also read books, trade journals, periodicals or other publications pertaining to your college major or preferred career path. That way you can be one step ahead when you return to school in the fall.

Gaining Work-Related Experience

Summer is also a great time to gain practical work-related experience that will benefit you when you eventually begin your job search. Many companies offer internships, both paid and unpaid, where you can get a taste of what it’s like to actually work in your chosen career. You can find internships through your college’s career center, contacting companies directly to inquire about internship opportunities, exploring online job boards or networking with family, friends or professional acquaintances.

Another option is job shadowing, where you spend a period of time observing individuals as they go about their workday. Interning and shadowing are not only a great way to learn about a job, they also give you a better idea as to whether an occupation is right for you.

Forming a Study Group or Club

Form a study or discussion group with friends or fellow students to meet periodically and talk about academic subjects, current events or other serious issues. Just be sure your study group doesn’t turn into a gossip session! If you’re an avid reader, consider starting or joining a book club.

Learning a New Language

Learning a new language is a mentally challenging and stimulating experience that can also look great on a job resume. Try to find a summer school language class in your local area or make a small investment in audio lessons so you can learn a language while exercising, driving or relaxing at home.

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