The summer after your freshman year at college will present an opportunity you may not have enjoyed during your earlier years of education: a really long stretch of time away from studying.
The three summers you have during college give you the liberty to get away from the books and explore something fun and exciting. Even if have to make money during the summer, you can apply some research, a little creativity, and a sense of adventure to ensure that you have amazing summers while you're in college.
Explore your academic interests
What have you learned about your academic interests during your freshman year? Consider possible related careers you might want to look into over the summer.
For example, if you're interested in pursuing a career in medicine, think about a job working on a research team in a laboratory. How about working in a hospital? Or working for a rehabilitation center or a hospice care agency? You can make important contacts while you gain insights into the working world of your choice.
Did you crush the SAT? Could you offer private tutoring in the city of your choice — or work for a test prep or training center, such as Kaplan? At the same time, you could explore a city or place that interests you. These organizations have offices in foreign cities too, so don't limit yourself to the United States!
Explore your social interests
If you want to become more social, you could take a summer job somewhere new, away from your hometown, where you will be motivated to interact with a fresh crowd of people. Consider working as a concierge at an inn or hotel, working as a waiter or waitress in a crowded tourist spot, or leading tours of your college campus.
Feeling comfortable in all kinds of social settings is a learned skill. If you want to build confidence, don't hesitate to seek out new experiences that take you out of your comfort zone.
Explore your interest in politics or administration
Are you a likely poli-sci, history, or government major? Are you interested in attending law school or interested in a particular political or social issue? Or are you just a political junkie?
You might be able to hook up with a political campaign as a policy analyst, speechwriter, advance person, researcher, campaign worker, or media adviser. If it isn't a campaign year, perhaps you could to look toward Washington, D.C., where you might land a summer job working alongside thousands of other college students as an aide, page, researcher, or policy assistant.
Do you love your college and have visions of becoming an admissions officer someday? If so, a summer working in the admissions office as an interviewer is a common first step to that popular post.
Are you interested in a social issue that is addressed by a particular local, state, regional, or national agency? Might you want to work there this summer to explore your interest in the subject?
The way you choose to occupy your time and energy over your long summer break will stay with you well beyond your college years. When you're out in the workaday world, you can look back at those great adventures before graduation!