The grades are nearly in and the term is out…so what now?
There’s the obvious answer of ‘PARTY. HARD.’, but beyond that, and to a more constructive end, what are your options as a student or immediate grad?
Many of us have the local cafe, pub, bar, restaurant, sports club that we can head back to in the summer months for some part-time work – possibly even in another country (Magaluf, we’re looking at you). It’s tempting, and often necessary, to go straight back there after you finish the year – but it’s important to consider the long-term goals as well and think about how to get into a career you’ll enjoy.
Do... get a part time job
Lots of places will be willing to take on workers for the summer season, even if they aren’t openly advertising a position, and it’s not just holiday towns.
With the graduate jobs market ever more competitive (we won’t dwell on this for long) and the need to demonstrate in job interviews that you’ve spent your whole life building up to being an insert job role here, the long university holidays can be an excellent time for work experience. They won’t necessarily be formal internships, and could be as short as a day’s worth of work, but you’ll be surprised how much you can get out of just 8 hours.
Use all your connections, take up every opportunity that sounds even remotely interesting (at least you’ll find out either way), and don’t be snooty – even spending a day making tea in the right place can help you identify what you do or don’t want to do. Plus, you can always big it up on your CV…
Unless you’re booked into a grad scheme/job right from the beginning of September, or going on a family holiday, it would be silly to travel in British summer time. It’s the height of the holiday season meaning that a) it’ll be more expensive and b) most places will be busier.
If you’ve got the availability to travel before or after the school holidays then do – make the most of being able to at this point in your life. You’ll get more for your money, which might even open up the possibility of going to places you hadn’t thought you could afford to get to.
Doesn’t mean you can’t plan though – there are tonnes of useful blogs out there for cheap travelling, like this one.
DO... do internships
Sadly this is going to be a fact of life for consideration in a lot of job roles, especially creative ones. Having said that, you should always try to get paid as much as possible for them because this drives up the wages for everybody – it’s more of a standard now in larger cities, including a London Living Wage. The more we stand for fair pay the better, and if it’s really worth it to do an unpaid one then make the most of living at home if you’re able to, and of being able to work weekends and evenings so you can do internships during the working week.
Make the most of your contacts and the fact that summer is a quiet time for businesses – less of a critical time with fewer key decision periods, where employees are more likely to be able to spend time talking you through a company, different job roles and the industry.
DO... try new things
Be curious, be nosy, be open-minded, be adventurous. Explore things to do for free (TimeOut has a dedicated section for several UK cities) whether a budget is forcing you to or not! If there’s a hobby or sport you’ve always wanted to try then see if there are intense short courses locally.
DON'T... ignore your uni buddies
It’s all too easy to assume you’ll be best mates again by the time you get back to university in the autumn, but don’t use that as an excuse to keep in touch. Especially if this is your last summer of freedom before you have to start thinking about ACTUAL LIFE.
Consolidate the friendships you’ve made in the term by making the effort to visit in the holidays. It’s another good way of getting to places you’ve not been to before (potentially with a free place to stay) even if you just hang out – the intensity of university friendships can quickly dissipate, so avoid the awkward reunions when you realise the last time you saw somebody, three months ago, was when they were naked and painted like an Avatar for the Wednesday social…
DO... enjoy it!
This freedom won't last forever. Trust us.
Congratulations to everybody who has received their final grades and passed their degrees. Now go and celebrate!