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How to Spend Your Summer After College Graduation

Tags:  Looking for work, Life after college

You've finally done it. You've graduated with your four-year degree and now your ready to rush out into the world and start working full-time. You attended the spring recruitment events on campus and landed the perfect first job and are truly excited about this next step in your life. But is that really your only option?

Yes, the whole purpose behind a college education is to prepare you for your career. However, that doesn't mean that the day after your graduation party that you have to show up for your new nine to five.

When we were growing up, summer was always a time for fun in the sun, a chance for renewal and the opportunity to kick back and relax with friends. So why not spend this last free summer doing something very special before you spend it behind a desk in some stuffy cubicle?

Instead, here are four alternative ideas that you might want to consider incorporating into your final summer (and in some cases beyond) before you start your new career.


You're probably thinking, ""Why accept an internship when I can just start my new career?"" Well, here's why: because an internship is a short-term commitment that can compliment your career without being exactly the same.

The idea behind doing one-last internship before starting your full-time gig is to do something completely different than you would normally do. Select an opportunity that you might not normally try or one that provides a new learning situation that can enhance your career.

Or, if you weren't able to land that perfect career position right out of college, taking on an internship instead is a great way to keep on learning while you continue looking for the right job.

Peace Corps

Alright, so the commitment is longer than just one summer. But it's a worthwhile commitment; one that you will treasure for the rest of your life as you get the chance to see a part of the world and a culture that you might otherwise not have the opportunity to see.

Or if the Peace Corps isn't exactly a fit, consider joining AmeriCorps, where you can stay local or go national as a member of VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America).


Especially for anyone who hasn't landed the perfect career opportunity, volunteering your time during that final summer after college can be a great way to give back that one last time. ""One last time?"" you ask. You plan to continue your volunteer efforts even while you hold down a full-time job.

Truth is that while many people have the best of intentions when it comes to working and volunteering, life can sometimes get in the way making it difficult to balance these two areas. And naturally, the volunteering portion is the part that has to go as it becomes necessary to earn a living.

So volunteering your time to an organization you're passionate about during that last summer after college may be the right move for you.


Once you start the regular grind of working full-time you will be earning paid vacation days as well as a salary to help defer the cost of a vacation, so it may not seem like a wise idea to take a vacation now. However, it will be more difficult to take an extended period of time off and so if you have hopes of taking a three-or four-week trek across Europe, now is the best time to go.

Or if you really want to make it fun and exciting you might want to consider combining your vacation with your desire to do volunteer work and enjoy a working vacation. Known as voluntourism (see our companion article Voluntourism: Make Your Next Vacation a Working One) this working vacation combines social responsibility with the opportunity to explore another part of the world.

So as you consider what you want to do with the rest of your life keep in mind that there are lots of options. And spending your summer after college graduation doing something special is a great way to start.  

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