7 Ways to Stay Sharp During Summer Break

This is a guest post written by Thomas Edison State College

Just because it’s summer break, or you’re in between terms, doesn’t mean you can’t still develop useful career or education experience and have fun at the same time. Stay sharp and fresh in the summer heat by incorporating a little learning into your daily activities for a smooth transition (and an even stronger start) into a new term or school year.

Gain experience in your chosen field

Even if your summer schedule is a bit hectic, there’s no better time than a break from classes to brush up on your job skills. Use the time wisely to build experience and grow your knowledge in your chosen field by volunteering or interning at an organization you find interesting. You’ll form key relationships that may lead you to your next career move!    

Read, Read, Read!

You’ve spent countless hours diligently poring over your reading assignments (you really did, right?), and now is the ideal time to read what really piques your interest. Create a reading list of the titles your friends have raved about over the past year, or pick up the books your family suggested you check out. Whatever you decide to add to your personalized summer reading list, develop a method to check off what you’ve read – it will be the most fun you’ve ever had completing a to-do list, guaranteed.

Prepare for Credit-by-Exam Programs

While breaks are meant to be just that, time doesn’t exactly stop. With less demand on regular school routines and demanding responsibilities, summer break is the ideal time to prepare for credit by exam programs with minimal interruption so you can truly focus. It’s never too early to start studying for an exam, and you can avoid detrimental cramming sessions later when your school responsibilities begin to pile up again.  

Fine-tune your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Think of what you have achieved in the past year; new skills, relevant coursework and/or project experience – don’t you want that reflected in your resume or LinkedIn profile? By updating your resume in smaller chunks, without the added pressure of dashing off a weak update for the sake of time, you can focus on the details and specifics that really matter to your career. Not only will these updates save you time later, but you will also recognize other areas you may need to concentrate on – and you can spend the following year strengthening your skills and experiences there. 


Whether you’re still learning how to network successfully or dread the experience, networking is still a powerful method to advance your career. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s whom you know,” and, invariably, you may know someone who knows someone in the field you are interested in. If networking events aren’t your thing, reach out to your current network for introductions to new connections, or contact alumni of your school.  Even further - LinkedIn offers a great feature that showcases your school’s alumni and related industry. So now you can eliminate the guesswork and small talk, and focus on writing a compelling email introduction

Attend Events and Conferences

Besides the networking benefits, attending industry-specific events and conferences can expose you to new learning opportunities, ideas and trends. You’ll encounter peers facing the same issues as you, and meet innovative leaders who have succeeded beyond those challenges. Use these events to ask questions, collect presentation materials for later reference and get feedback from key industry leaders.

Stay up-to-date in your career field.

With all the digital magazines, RSS feeds and apps available at your fingertips, it’s easy to stay up-to-date on important trends and news in your field. Your knowledge and understanding in an ever-changing marketplace is directly tied to career success and growth. Sign up for industry-specific blogs, articles and e-newsletters so you can stay-in-the-know about any new developments or opportunities in your career field.

What do you do to stay sharp during summer break or a leave of absence from school?


About Thomas Edison State College

Thomas Edison State College provides flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults. One of New Jersey’s 11 senior public institutions of higher education, the College offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 100 areas of study that can be customized to meet their individual needs. The College is a national leader in the assessment of adult learning and a pioneer in the use of educational technologies. Learn more at www.tesc.edu.

photo credit: BrittneyBush via photopin cc

Tagged: summer learning