Optimize Your Summer

By Samantha E. Williams, student, SUNY Empire State College; assistant editor, The Student Connection

June 25, 2015

Male student sitting in an office setting concentratingIt’s summer! Maybe you want to go outside and play in the sun and have fun in the pool, but consider some ways to optimize your education, too. Check out these suggestions to make the most of your summer off from class:


The “mature” versions of camps, conferences offer networking and learning opportunities to students in all areas of study. Not only do conferences give you an opportunity to hear from industry experts, but some allow you to participate in workshops. Get a feel for your intended career by networking with the people who have your dream job.

Many conferences cost money, so if you are running tight on money, consider webinars instead. Depending on the industry, most are free to attend. Find them with a quick Google search or head to your favorite industry websites. For example, I enjoyed an Aberdeen Group webinar on marketing for work. It was free and they provide access to the recorded webinar a couple days after the event if you were unable to attend the live version.


Gain experience and industry know-how through internships. According to Anita DeCianni-Brown ‘12, SUNY Empire State College’s collegewide career development coordinator, suggests the following:

  • Check with a faculty member or mentor—they may know an opportunity in your area of study or they may know someone you can ask.
  • Look in your area. Reach out to employers you are interested in to see if they offer internships.
  • DeCianni-Brown maintains a career services blog, which includes opportunities shared with the career services office. These also are shared on Twitter and Facebook. Check out the blog at: https://sunyempirecareers.wordpress.com/
  • Head over to the SUNY Empire State College Online Career and Job Resources page and look through the databases: http://www.esc.edu/collegewide-student-services/career-services/career-resources/online-resources/
  • Keep your eye out for Purple Briefcase, a job posting system, to make its appearance on SUNY Empire State College’s career services Web page this summer. Organizations will post to the system. Students and alumni will then be able to apply to postings.

Find Different Opportunities

You do not need an internship to get experience. DeCianni-Brown tells students to “look at opportunities where they can gain experience or be able to incorporate a project in one of their courses.” For instance, DeCianni-Brown uses the example: “a student in marketing or communications course could reach out to a local business who is using social media … The student could work on developing a plan and initiate it for the business.”

DeCianni-Brown has been in our seats. She reminisced: “During one of my grad school courses here at SUNY Empire, I had to develop a short module for a course. I created a resume writing module that could be used for students.” Find uses for your skills.

Take a Break

If the past couple terms drained you, take a break. Don’t forget to keep up-to-date on your industry’s news. Don’t forget to connect with past networking connections. But, do not overdo it. Heck, we all need a break sometimes. Maybe the best way to optimize summer for those of us feeling overwhelmed is simply this: breathe.

Other News

SUNY Empire State College Student Featured in Newsday Instagram Project about Ramadan, By Layla Abdullah-Poulos ‘10, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College

Pop-Up Schools: Learning Isn't Limited to the Classroom, By Christina Mercer, Columbia University

Lots of Screen Time? Protect Your Eyes, By Kim Dramer, Huffington Post

Did You Know

The June issue of Empire State College's Student Health 101  features six ways to fix motivation fails.

Creative Corner

Social Corner

Article Contributors

Layla Abdullah-Poulos

Kim Dramer

Helen Edelman

Christina Mercer

Samantha E. Williams