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college skillsWhat Are You Doing This Summer?

When my children were in elementary school, we spent the last week of summer reviewing their summer activities to prepare them for writing the inevitable composition: "What did you do last summer?" They would protest, but I pressed on to save them from giving the response that students often give: "Nothing."

Returning college students need not worry that they will be asked to write an essay chronicling their summer activities. You must not believe, however, that what you do in summer is "Nothing." Whatever you do in the summer contributes to who you are and where you are going. Here are some of the activities that have shaped many students' lives.

Your summer job offers more than just income.

Since choosing a career is one of the toughest challenges you will face, perhaps your summer job can contribute to that planning. If you enjoyed your job, think of the aspects of it that were most rewarding. If you didn't enjoy your job, reflect on which things were unpleasant and why.

Assess which work values matter to you the most: change and variety, high pace of activity, independence and freedom, precision, stability, creativity, working closely with others, working alone. Reflecting on your summer job in this way will hep you recognize the careers that hold the most potential for future gratification. Get help with choosing your career at http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/careers/proc...

Your summer school classes offer more than just units.

Besides accumulating extra college units, your summer school classes contribute to your knowledge base and strengthen your abilities. Evaluate how summer classes contribute to your abilities such as writing persuasively, getting along with others, speaking in front of an audience, negotiating, manipulating data, researching information, operating equipment, supervising others, taking directions from others, making deciisons, handling details. By taking an honest assessment of your abilities you will have concrete evidence for your career choice and other important life decisions.

Your summer activities are more than just space and time fillers.

If you spent your summer vacationing, what time of day was your peak time for activity? Did you meet new friends? Perhaps you said goodbye to friends, relatives, or a pet? What first-time experiences opened your eyes to new horizons?

My daughter, for example, went to hear a speaker as part of an assignment for her speech class, but became fascinated with the speaker's viewpoint and purchased her book.

Even when summer school was over, my daughter continued to nurture this new interest by watching related television shows, reading newspaper and magazine articles on the topic, and attending some of the political activities surrounding the Democratic National Convention.

Your summer activities are rich with information that you can use to plan the rest of your life.

Reflect on what you learned about yourself, your preferences, your values and your abilities. Then you'll be able to say that what you did last summer was reached a turning point in your life.



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