How to Make the Most Out of the Rest of Summer Break

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Summer break, while it is ending all too soon, is the perfect time to prepare yourself for the upcoming school year and take advantage of the sunny weather and extra free time. Whether you are getting ready to graduate, entering a new program or are a returning student, this summer break provides several opportunities to improve the soft skills that will help you have a more productive school year and provide you with opportunities to further your professional career.

Here are a few things you can do to build your soft skills and make the most out of the rest of summer break.

1) Network

While there are plenty of networking opportunities throughout the school year, summer break provides the perfect opportunity to attend networking events in your area. Take advantage of the free time this summer by attending industry nights, panels and other events that give you the opportunity to meet new individuals and build your network. Not only will you make valuable connections, but this will help you practice the interpersonal skills that will carry you through the school year.

Don’t forget to follow-up with the individuals you meet – ask for business cards and have a coffee with some of the people that you meet to receive valuable insight and advice, make genuine connections and open the door to future opportunities. Continue to apply your networking and interpersonal skills throughout the school year by maintaining these connections, attending events at your school and cultivating meaningful relationships with others – whether it is a new connection or familiar face.

2) Improve your Personal Brand

While face-to-face interactions are crucial to making valuable connections and practicing your interpersonal skills, developing and maintaining a strong online presence is increasingly important in our digital world. While creating a strong online presence and building a community takes time, there are numerous quick steps you can take to improve your personal brand.

Update your LinkedIn Profile

Having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is necessary, especially if you will be networking, meeting new individuals and cultivating meaningful relationships this school year. Take some time to update your LinkedIn profile with your relevant experience and ensure your profile looks professional and up-to-date.

Take a Professional Looking Headshot

Having a headshot will help you create a more consistent brand and create a more professional image. Have a friend take a professional looking headshot to use on your personal website, profile picture on your social media and LinkedIn page – you can even use the self-timer on your phone if you are unable to get a friend to take one for you.

Write a Consistent Bio

While keeping within the character limitations of various platforms, write a bio that represents who you are and conveys your personal brand. After you’ve written a short bio that you feel achieves this, use it across your various social media profiles to keep your brand consistent.

Create an page

If you don’t yet have a personal website or don’t have the time to build one, create an page complete with biography, media and call to action. After you have completed your page, place the link in your social media bio across platforms.

3) Get Organized

Deadlines, assignments and tests quickly begin to pile up shortly after school begins, and can be tough to balance when juggling work, leisure and other commitments. In order to avoid stress and improve time management this school year, spend some time towards the end of summer break organizing your calendar and getting prepared. Check your syllabuses as they are released and schedule in your assignments, tests and readings, while also taking into account work, events and other commitments you have throughout the year. Spend some extra time to organize your calendar and invest in some stationery to inspire you to get organized and stay productive!

4) Travel

The summer months are the ideal time to travel, whether near or far. Taking a much needed break before heading back to school will help you return to work refreshed, and will give you the opportunity to practice mindfulness. As members of a multicultural society, taking the time to experience new cultures and communities will help you bring a sense of inclusivity and tolerance back to school and your workplace, leading to better communication, productivity and adaptability.

While not all of us have the opportunity to travel far this summer, make the most of the sunny weather and free time to explore your own city or go on a weekend trip. Without having to take time off work or spend a lot of money, you will still get to experience new things and return more refreshed and productive. Carry some of these habits and activities into the school year during busy times to help you better manage stress!

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While summer break is a time for relaxation, catching up on work and spending time with family and friends, by spending some of your free time building your network, improving your personal brand, getting organized and practicing mindfulness, it is the perfect opportunity to build your soft skills. These improvements will carry you into the school year and prepare you for a more productive, less stressful and more meaningful year.

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