Security or Exploration?
You are done with midterms, finals and even the all-too-frequent overnight study/cram sessions. You’ve just finished your college degree. Now you are ready to dive straight into the working world and enjoy the benefits that come with holding down a “real job” – right?
Maybe not – and that’s perfectly normal. The big question is: what’s right for you now?
After four (or more) years of college, your parents may think it’s high time you experienced job security and learned to stand on your own two feet. If you are seeing things a little differently, this might be the ideal summer for you to broaden your horizons and trot the globe. And, believe it or not, with the proper planning you can make this happen without relying on your parents for support to the tune of thousands of dollars.
Consider the following ways to add new, out-of-the-ordinary lines to your resumé:
• Back to summer camp. Consider working as a summer camp counselor. You would have the opportunity to work with children, enjoy time in the great outdoors, and even get paid! The salaries aren’t great, but it has unique perks to make up for it: ocean or lakefront housing, swimming pools, maybe even horseback riding.
• Be outdoorsy. If you want to focus on the outdoor adventure and leave out the part about working with children, maybe a hiking or biking journey is right for you. You could hike the Appalachian Trail or embark on a cross-country bike tour. The Adventure Cycling Association offers numerous routes and maps for both beginners and experienced cyclists. The Association also offers guided tours, tips on preparing for your journey and packing suggestions.
• Global perspective. Wishing you had taken advantage of a study abroad program while in school? Well, it’s not too late to go global. Programs like BUNAC and InterExchange offer programs for college students and recent graduates to work or volunteer in various countries. In addition to your global perspective, many of these programs can offer you work-related experience - you could teach English abroad, participate in an au pair program or set up an internship related to your career goals. There’s a world of exploring at your fingertips!
• Hone your language skills. What better way to learn French than to live and take classes in France? InterExchange offers a variety of language courses in countries like Costa Rica, Italy, Peru, Spain and more!
• Fight for a cause. If you don’t want to go through a program like BUNAC or InterExchange, consider volunteering through the Peace Corps . Corps volunteers travel overseas and have the opportunity to make real differences in the lives of real people.
• Be a beach or ski bum. Working at beach or ski resorts is a great option for recent graduates or just about anyone looking for a change of lifestyle. Many resorts hire new college grads to work and most will help you find affordable housing options. Ski resorts usually provide discounts on lift passes.
If the idea of spending a couple months (or longer) exploring sounds intriguing to you, learn from a few experienced adventurers; Kiplinger’s Magazine featured an article about six twenty-somethings who trotted the globe on entry-level salaries.