By Andrew Wilburn
If you are reading these words that means that you have made it! You are in the homestretch of spring semester and summer is right around the corner. Sweet, blissful summer, with its long days, warm nights, and no homework in sight. Summer is every student’s dream when classes end and the list of obligations gets significantly shorter. But summer is not the time to get content with yourself.
Ask yourself; what are my goals? No really, what are your goals? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…your goals are your motivation; the reason that you are spending time and energy on your education. Even during the summer break you’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize. The rest of the world doesn’t get a summer break. While some students are sleeping in late and spending all day in the sun the rest of us (even LCCC employees) are still working full-time and are still on the grind. The grind is critical; it is how you achieve your goals and dreams. If you’re not on the grind, then you’re not working towards your goals. Summer is the ideal time to start building a resume and stack the deck in your favor.
There are several ways to work towards your goals during the summer. You might be looking at transferring to a 4-year school after this semester. If you haven’t decided where you’re going to transfer, then you need to figure that out quickly. Conduct your own research and meet with your advisor to talk about transfer options, and call an admissions office directly to get more information. Once you know where you plan to transfer, you’ll need official transcripts from LCCC. You can request transcripts from the National Student Clearinghouse at www.getmytranscripts.com.
If you’re working a summer job or continuing your current job, your goals don’t have to go on the back-burner. Work is how you obtain skills, and skills are what truly gets you a job. A degree qualifies you for a job, but your skills and resume are what set you apart and what makes you competent. Think about how your current job applies to your educational or career goals. What can you learn from this job that will help you later on? Even if you can’t think of any direct connections, think about how you can build new skills or learn new things in your current job. Building skills and accepting new responsibilities can help make your resume shine. It shows employers that you aim to improve.
Another way to build skills and learn about careers is to hold down a summer internship. In addition to exposing you to a new role and skills, an internship can help to build your professional network. Your network matters in the job search because connections from internships are the best way to find your first job after college. The larger your professional network the better your chance of building a connection with someone in the career or organization you want to work in. Internships sounds pretty good then, right? You can get more information about seeking out and applying for internships through the Career Center in Pathfinder 111. You can set up a meeting with the Career Center by calling 307-778-1214.
If internships and summer jobs aren’t in your wheelhouse, you can make progress towards your goals through summer courses. Summer courses are limited in the topics offered, yet they are a great way to complete General Education requirements or to work on your math skills. If you are curious about what’s offered over the summer you should make an appointment with your advisor to discuss summer offerings and how they can influence your academic plan. Summer Financial Aid is also available to students who have registered for 6 or more credits. An application for Summer Financial Aid is available from the Student Hub.
OK I’m stepping down from my soapbox soon. Summer is a great way to prepare yourself for life after LCCC and life after college. In order to reach your goals you have to do more than simply go through the motions. You need to take advantage of opportunities to improve your chances of success. Knowledge, skills, and a network are the three things you’ll need to find a job after you finish your degree. None of these facets are more important than the other, but you’ll need all three in order to reach your goals.