During the academic year, non-traditional students often burn the candle at both ends: juggling the responsibilities of academics, work, and family. Yet the arrival of summer typically offers some much-needed breathing room, whether in the form of a reduced course load, weekend getaways, or a complete break from school.
With summer in full swing, we hope that our students have been able to take some much-deserved time to unwind, and recharge for the upcoming semester.
Regardless of your academic plans, please consider some of the tips below, to put your extra time toward enjoying a productive, yet relaxing summer break.
Revise Your Resume
As most non-traditional students are currently engaged in the work force, it is important that they maintain a current resume. Resume writing or revising is not an especially desirable task, but it will worth the effort. Consider what you have gained from your recent coursework, and incorporate these skills into your resume. Also be sure to add any relevant work or volunteer experience that you have accrued over the past year.
Need a complete resume overhaul? Consider one of the SPS' helpful resume-writing articles.
Connect with Your Professors
College professors are typically experts in their field, and may also be veterans of a particular industry. Positive relationships with professors can be extremely beneficial to students, as they can offer important academic and career advice, and are often willing to write recommendation letters for former students.
If you found a professor to be especially inspiring, or you performed well in a given class, take the time to e-mail the professor, or even send a hand-written written note! Take the time to say, “thank you,” and explain what you found to be valuable about the course. Your professor will certainly appreciate the gesture, and may also be more apt to stay in touch.
Pursue Scholarship Opportunities
While there are comparatively few scholarships available to non-traditional students, opportunities do exist. Research what is available both locally and nationally, and look into programs offered by your employer, place of worship, or community group.
Scholarship applications typically require the inclusion of a scholarship essay: something you will likely have more time to consider during the summer months.
Since most scholarship applications are submitted at least 6 months prior to the beginning of the academic year, verify that the essay and other details listed apply to the 2017 scholarship award criteria.
Take a Non-Credit Course
The process of acquiring a new skill is usually a rewarding experience, and can also serve to enhance your resume or further your career. Skill-building courses may also help to alleviate any skill gaps, such as a lack of familiarity with popular software applications.
The Center for Continuing and Professional (CCPE) offers over 250 individual non-credit online courses: from personal enrichment to critical career skills. These instructor-led courses are a mere six weeks in length, and allow students to progress at their own pace.
Learn with Your Children
Colleges, community centers, and libraries are among the many places that may be offering family-centered programming. Share your love of learning with your child, and sign up for an age-appropriate instructional course - be it crafts, fitness, or science!
If a parent-child class is not an option, look for other shared learning opportunities: participating in a summer book club, playing educational games, or watching and discussing a documentary.
Enjoy Some Leisure Reading
No matter how interesting the topic, textbooks tend to be relatively dry - not the kind of reading you would typically choose in your leisure time!
Revisit the joy of reading this summer by selecting one or more books to read over the next two months. If you are planning a trip, consider downloading an audio book to help pass the time in-transit.
Complete a Long-Neglected Project
Everyone has at least one project, be it personal or work-related, that has been pushed aside in favor of other priorities. Select at least one project that you can feasibly complete this summer, giving special consideration to tasks that might make your life easier in the Fall.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is important for every adult, but especially those who feel pulled from every angle. Take the time to do whatever it is that makes you feel positive, rewarded, and/or refreshed: whether it is spending time with your family, going out with friends, volunteering in the community, working in the garden, or basking by the pool.
A less-hectic summer schedule can also help you to make time for healthy choices, such as arranging medical or dental appointments that you may have had to neglect during the academic year, establishing a workout routine, or preparing nutritious home-cooked meals.
The SPS staff understands that non-traditional students often lead very busy lives, that are laden with responsibilities. If you have concerns about how you can achieve school/life balance, please contact the SPS: we are happy to help.
For more information about the School of Professional Studies' programs for non-traditional students, please visit the Degree Completion section of our website.