Summer Break kicks off after classes tomorrow, leaving students with nine full days of class- and project-free time to themselves. While the desire to sit around and do nothing may be huge, having a week off during the crush of a busy schedule is a perfect time to get ahead of the game on both school and personal projects.
We talked to a bunch of faculty members this week, and they all had some great suggestions for how they’d spend the break if they were students. And yes, while we’re all about taking advantage of at least some sleeping in, we’d definitely follow some of the advice offered up below, too.
- Volunteer. “Whether it’s Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, or a pet rescue service, these types of volunteer activities provide an opportunity to give back to others while building the resume with meaningful activities. A good place to start would be the Volunteer Match website.” -Pat Bishop, Graduate Studies Director
- Clean Up Your Social Life. “Like it or not, employers check social network accounts before hiring new employees. Go through your accounts and manicure that undesirable material. The way you communicate online can show potential employers aspects of your personality both good and bad. No one is looking to hire a robot but those embarrassing photos, inappropriate language, and even the things you ‘like’ can throw up a red flag.” -Mike Dunn, Associate Course Director, Psychology
- Read. “Research news sites and trade publications for your industry and start subscribing. Do the same for Twitter and blogs.” -Wendy Moore, Associate Course Director, English
- “[For Digital Arts & Design students] my recommendations are The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst and How to Be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy.” -Suzanne Johnson, Course Director, Digital Arts & Design
- Work On Your Music. “I would always recommend that students go see some live local music or bigger shows. The other thing that I would highly recommend is to watch videos on Pensado’s Place – it’s a producer talking about how to make records. RecordProduction.com is another good one with tons of great videos.” -Darren Schneider, Course Director, Recording Arts
- “Brush up your music theory and ear training skills by practicing in Musition and Auralia. Update your website: flavors.me is a great free Flash site to promote your music. Produce a track from start to finish in a week, and introduce yourself to seven different people in the music industry.” -Eric Brook, Course Director, Music Production
- Think About Final Projects and Life After Graduation. “We tell students at every break, that while they should take a little time for themselves, they should put some work into their Final Project. It is free time they rarely get, and what some students can do in one week is incredible. Working on their resume is also a great idea, or do some research on companies that could be hiring after graduation. Do some school work, do some career work, and take some personal time.” -Liam Hislop, Department Chair, Game Project
- Freelance. “Summer break would be a great time for students to start putting their education to work by lining up some freelance work. They can find work on sites like eLance. Even better, students can volunteer to put their skills to use for a non-profit. If they don’t know a local organization that needs help, they can find virtual opportunities at sites like Idealist or Volunteer Match. What a great way to get some experience while helping an organization that is doing good in the community.” -Rob Croll, Course Director, Internet Marketing
- Play a Few Hours of Video Games. “For artists in the video game industry, knowing what current games look like is important, so I would spend a few hours sprinkled throughout the week playing different games to see what’s current. Using this as motivation for your next project is huge. It gives you an ‘art bar’ to use so you know what your quality should be near. It also gives you a jumping off point for reference gathering.” -Jeff Parrott, Course Director, Game Art