Summer’s knocking on the door, and I bet you’re all excited for the break. But have you thought about what you’re going to do with all that free time?

Relaxing is essential, of course. But, summer also offers a fantastic opportunity for you to learn new skills, dive into activities you love, and prepare for the exciting future that lies ahead.

Why Would You Want to Be Busy?

Wondering why you should keep busy over summer? Well, it’s not about filling up every hour of the day with work. Rather, it’s about being productive and preparing for the next steps in your life. Whether that’s landing a great job or getting into your dream college, staying active during the summer can give you a significant leg up. Plus, it doesn’t have to be “all work and no play,” either.

You’ve got a world of options when it comes to summer activities. But how do you choose the right one for you? Here are three key questions to consider:

What are Your Future Goals?

 Do you have a dream job or a dream college in mind? Think about how you can spend your summer strengthening your chances of reaching those goals. That might mean getting a job or an internship for work experience, or taking some extra classes to boost your academic profile.

What Do You Enjoy?

 Summer shouldn’t be a drag. If there’s a club, sport, or other activity that you love, think about how you can continue that over the summer. Maybe there’s a summer job that sounds fun to you, or an activity that’s both helpful and enjoyable.

How Busy Do You Want to Be? 

It’s okay to juggle multiple activities, but remember not to overdo it. Summer is also about resting and recharging, so make sure you’re not heading back to school feeling exhausted.

6 Great Ideas for Summer Activities

Now that we know why staying busy is a good idea, let’s explore some great summer activities you might consider. Here are six ideas to help you get started:

#1. Get a Summer Job

Working over the summer can be a fantastic way to gain work experience and earn some extra cash. You could work as a lifeguard, cashier, or camp counselor, for instance. While some jobs may seem mundane, stick with it, and try to increase your responsibilities over time. This will look impressive on your college applications or future resumes.

#2. Jump Aboard an Internship

Internships can provide you with valuable work experience, especially if they align with your career interests. Although you might not always get paid, the experience you gain can be priceless. Be proactive and reach out to companies you’re interested in, or check with your school’s career center for opportunities.

#3. Take Classes

Taking summer classes may not sound like the most fun option, but they can help you stay academically sharp and prepare you for college. You could retake a class, study something new, or even take some college courses to show that you can handle the college-level workload.

#4. Explore Hobbies or Talents

Summer is an excellent time to invest in your hobbies or talents. Whether it’s sports, arts, tech, or entrepreneurship, you can use the summer to improve your skills and showcase your passion. Remember, colleges and employers love seeing applicants who can commit to an activity and have interests outside the classroom.

#5. Go to Summer Camp

There are a plethora of summer camps out there, each with its own unique focus. Whether it’s cultural immersion, performing arts, or wilderness skills, attending a summer camp can be an enriching experience. Do your research and choose a camp that aligns with your interests and aspirations. 

#6. Become a Volunteer

Volunteering allows you to give back to your community while also building your resume or college application. Whether it’s at a local animal shelter, retirement home, or even abroad, volunteering can be a rewarding experience. Remember, though: to truly stand out, commit to a long-term volunteer program to get the most of your time. 

Planning Ahead

Now, to reiterate, no one expects you to spend your entire summer working your tail off or staying so busy that you don’t have time to relax. However, college is very hard, and anything you can do now to lighten the load later on is gold. While a summer job might not seem super appealing to you, when you have that extra money for snacks and supplies… you might change your mind.

Or, take volunteering, for example. It can be a big help if you find a volunteer gig that you can target toward your future career path. For example, if you’re interested in becoming a veterinarian, then volunteering at an animal shelter could give you a boost laster. Being able to discuss your passion for helping animals in your college essays will look great on your applications.

Remember: it’s a lot easier to knock out your extra-curricular stuff in off seasons than it is to try to work during the semester. Getting busy now can potentially save you months of stress and headaches later on!