As soon as the exams finished and the holiday button is pressed, nothing stops you from travelling, hanging out with your friends, or simply watching Netflix for hours.

However, after a well-deserved leisure time meant to recharge your batteries, you might want to start thinking about your life after graduation – the moment you often have no clue of what’s going on.

Summer isn’t just for fun moments, but they’re also a great opportunity to do something you didn’t have the time during lectures and seminars. Here’s our pocket guide to develop your professional skills outside of the school and to get closer to your dream job:

  1. Take an online course

The Internet is not only filled with cat memes and YouTube videos, but also with a wide range of free online courses, from Japanese literature to digital marketing and SEO. Websites like Coursera or FutureLearn provide multiple course options which are awarded with an official certificate. They vary from two to five weeks and are helpful for learning new skills, improving the existing ones, and advancing your career. They have a well-structured outline with the content of the course, the professor and the abilities you’ll develop at the end. Either as a hobby, or as a step forward to your future job, these courses are worth taking a look

  1. Work experience

Let’s face it – your University diploma weights a lot, but it’s no good without any work experience in the domain you study. Every single company looks for already experienced graduates, who know the tricks in a workplace and how to handle a crisis situation. 2-weeks work experience provides you with the practical and social skills you might lack in your course. Nonetheless, it’ll provide you with a sense of responsibility and time-management abilities. Make your move during summer – look for the companies you’re most interested in and drop them an e-mail.adults-collaborate-collaboration-1036641

  1. Do voluntary work

Being a volunteer in an organisation or NGO is the perfect way to take some time off from stressing work and relax while doing something worth to be mentioned in your CV. Voluntary work is the activity which yells ‘I want to do this because I care, not because I want money’. It improves your social, organisational and creative skills. You could work for a medical institution like the Red Cross or plant trees and help the natural environment. Voluntary work makes you feel well in your own shoes because you know that except from helping you, you helped others and this is what a successful summer means.

  1. Not too late for dissertation topic

Sleepless nights and many cups of coffee are sings of a clear significant moment in students’ life – dissertation. You’ll probably become the adopted child of the library, have disorganised meals and barely any sleep. However, if you want a better life during your last university year, you’re the one who has to make a change. The summer just before the final year is your answer – take a look at a possible topic for your paper, read examples from previous years, e-mail professors any question you might have. Don’t leave your dissertation on the last minute because you’ll be crushed both physically and emotional. Summer is the best time to make notes, ask questions, think about the topic.

Summer isn’t just about sun, ice cream, and festivals – if you want to have a more relaxed careless student life, take advantage of summers like you’ve never had before. Once you graduate and become a full-time employee, any chance you might have had during university summers remains just a nice memory.