The slow summer months have arrived. What should you do with all this time before the next year begins or the phone rings to offer you a job? Here are some ways to stay sharp and avoid the ennui looming over you.

1.       Learn Something New

There are plenty of skills that you couldn’t pick up in class. Maybe your school didn’t offer the course. Maybe you didn’t have time to take it or maybe the course didn’t even exist. Well, with the incredible-edible internet, you can learn just about any skill you want (computer programming, guitar, sign language, bike mechanics…). If you work better with paper materials, save money on expensive manuals by perusing and borrowing from your local library. Best of all – you can learn at the pace and using the methods that fit you best without the crushing pressure of tests, projects, and deadlines.

2.       Prepare For The Upcoming Year

At this point, you probably know what you’re going to be taking this fall. Some professors send out the syllabus to all students who registered for a class (be sure to check this for your schedule) so you may even know some of your assignments. Take advantage of this! Knowing what you have to do or even having an inkling of what may come can really help you maintain a healthy school-life balance and good grades in the next semester.

3.       Find An Internship

If you’re curious about a field or wanting to strengthen your resume, one of the best things you can do is apply for an internship. These are positions that, although they may be unpaid, will give you the skills and the experience you need to succeed in the future. Having an internship not only looks great to future employers, it also gets your name out in the atmosphere. A lot of job offerings can stem from the networking a simple internship provides. Having the experience and knowing how things work in the “real world” is invaluable and constructs a sound foundation for your future.

4.       Read

Whether you’re diving into classical fiction, or brushing up on the latest financial theories, reading is one of the best things you can do to keep your mind active. Research has shown that reading will improve your vocabulary and make you a better writer. It’s also nice to read something because you WANT to, not because it was an assignment.

5.       Volunteer

Do it for your community and for yourself. Volunteering promotes personal growth and benefits organizations, people and causes in need of support. (Volunteering also looks great on a resume – but don’t do it solely for that reason.) What are you passionate about? How would you like to make a difference? Think about it, then visit https://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find opportunities in your area.

6.       Be Social

If you find yourself stuck in your college town or your hometown without many friends around, try joining a club. It gets you out of the house and you might even make some new friends and have fun! One easy way to get involved is http://www.meetup.com. Use the search feature to browse clubs based on your interests and you’re bound to find a thriving and popular club – if not, start your own!