By Laura Sears, MS, NCC

Summer is finally upon us, gracing us with sunny skies, green trees, and warm weather after a long, cold winter. Many of us have been patiently (or not so patiently!) awaiting the start of this new season, which for many teens and young adults is marked by the transition from a busy school year into a period of rest, relaxation, and fun. While summer is a great time to recharge and engage in some much-needed respite, it also provides an opportunity to work toward personal and professional goals by getting a summer job.

For some, the idea of taking on new responsibilities after a year of hard work may seem daunting, stressful, or even boring. However, there are significant benefits of taking on a summer job. Here are a few reasons why working this summer may prove to be the best option:

Structure: Transitions can be hard, particularly when there is a major change in your daily routine. Moving from a full schedule to an empty one can leave us feeling a bit lost, disoriented, or anxious, even if we are taking a break from a stressful activity like school. If this pattern holds true for you, taking on a summer job may ease some of your anxiety by giving you a daily focus and an opportunity for productive action.

Socializing: In addition to providing structure, working in the summer will give you a unique opportunity to meet new people who share your interests. You may even make a new friend! Even if making new connections isn’t on your to-do list, interacting with others at work will give you the opportunity to practice social skills that you can use later. It will also expand your professional network, which will be invaluable once you start looking for permanent jobs in the future.

Branching Out: Summer vacation allows us the opportunity to indulge in our favorite hobbies, like playing videogames, reading, going for walks, or hanging out with friends. Summer is the perfect time to engage in these activities, but it is also the perfect time to try something new! At work, you will be exposed to new ideas and new activities that you may not have known you were interested in.

Skill-Building: While learning new workplace responsibilities may be tough, doing so will also help you grow in ways that will enhance your future career. Having a summer job will give you an experience to add to your resume, which will strengthen your future job applications and even college applications. If educational or professional goals are not on your radar right now, having a summer job can still give you the chance to work on any skills you’ve been wanting to improve for personal reasons. It may also help you become aware of other areas of improvement.

Practicing Balance: Do you work so hard during the year that you forget to enjoy your free time? Or, conversely, do you engage so much in your hobbies that you put off tasks you need to complete? Taking on a summer job will give you the opportunity to practice better time management and self-care skills within a finite period of time. You can think of a summer job as a trial period for future employment during which you will learn the skills you need to maintain balance in your life, even when you are juggling multiple responsibilities.

Remember, taking on a summer job doesn’t always mean missing out on the benefits of summer. If you maintain a healthy balance of free-time and productivity, you can still have fun and give yourself a summer to remember.

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