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Image of a chalkboard announcing summer breakWhen I was a child I loved summer. Nearly three whole months out of school to swim and play with my friends. No homework and no chores. All I did was swim and play in the neighborhood. With a nod to Jim Gaffigan, who couldn’t use three months off after the rigors of 4th grade?

What are you going to do with your summer? While it might be tempting to sit on a sofa binge-watching shows on Amazon Prime or Netflix, this is a good time to gain experience and increase your education.

Using Your Summer Break

Assuming you have a break, there are a number of ways to stay connected to what you have learned. You could find an internship in your field or find places to volunteer to help keep your new knowledge and skills sharp. You could combine travel with service work to expand your worldview while learning about new places and people. See if you can attend a conference hosted by a your professional organizations. Students can connect with professionals, seek a mentor, and learn about potential employment opportunities. Conferences bring in people from all over, which can help you learn about new ideas and innovations and develop a broader perspective on your profession as a whole. These types of activities will help you remember the information and skills you learned over the academic year, rather than risk forgetting what you know and having to catch up in the fall.

What if you are in a program that runs through the summer?  Summer semesters can be intense, because they tend to be shorter than those in the fall and spring. Make a renewed effort to connect new information to what you have already learned to build a bigger picture. Often, summer courses provide more interaction time with your instructors, who can provide opportunities to sharpen your skills or fill gaps in your knowledge.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t waste the opportunity to further your education in some way this summer. You will be a stronger student and a better practitioner if you do.