See it as more than a summer job…!

For many of you second level (over 16’s) and third level students, you are probably working either locally, nationally or internationally and hopefully making some money to fund your summer with some change for the next academic year. I guess many of the jobs that you are in are not what we say ‘your dream job’ and you can’t wait for the summer to be over, while others are enjoying the experience and getting a lot out of it. The latter is what I’d like to focus on in these short few words.

Do see the job as more than a summer job…you:

  • Are working with business owners, managers, supervisors, work colleagues who are sharing their knowledge and experiences with you
  • Are learning new things i.e. life-long learning known and unknown to yourself that will stand to you some time in the future; today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and years from now
  • Don’t know who the people you are working with know in their network and how some day in the future you might need them to help you progress or indeed get a job
  • Need to learn all you can, no matter how boring, do more than expected and you will be rewarded for it
  • Should appreciate that you have a job and are able to perform in it
  • Need to accept that the customer / client is king and whatever they say is right
  • Should enjoy it, as future, more permanent jobs may not be as easy, less-responsible and less-accountable as this

Look beyond into the future, this summer job could be one that gets you that all important college place, that gets you that all important interview, that gets you that all important job offer…enjoy the rest of your summer, whatever you are doing…

They think it is all over, it is now…!

For those Leaving Certificate’rs out there, well done, it is over and ‘hats off to you’. I hope that your past 5-6 years’ work, slog and sweat has paid off and that you left the examination room each day feeling good saying ‘that was the best I could do’. Most of you are now going on / are on holidays, are on working visa’s or simply taking time out, reflecting on the past 2-3 weeks and hoping that you have done enough to get what you want in your future ideal job / career / profession.

As you all know, there are many ways and means to get to your final destination, some direct and some indirect. Whether you have to go a route that wasn’t what you had planned, know this route and all the options open to you. It may take some extra time (at most a year), but when the destination is clear in your mind and it is a place that you want to go to no matter what, it will happen for you. Like anybody who wants to realise something in life, especially in sport, they will stop at nothing until they achieve it. And most importantly, these people enjoy the journey towards the destination more that the destination itself, making the destination more possible. You just have to want it badly enough and work hard.

So as you wait for mid-August to arrive, look forward to it with positivity, enthusiasm and with a sense of reward. You hope that the calculator adds up the grades / points to the magic figure that you so desire and so do I. If for whatever reason it doesn’t, there are so many options open to you.

But for now, it is all over…!

What are you doing for the summer?

This is a question that all students are asked around this time of year as they finish another academic year and transition into a two or three month period of ‘No school’. Students preparing for exams maybe in a different mind-set right now, but they too will have a long summer break.

Whatever your age, a summer break should never be wasted. Yes, you have had a long, difficult and challenging year with school / college, study, exams, assignments, projects, sport and various other activities and you deserve a break. But this break I believe should be a break of re-vitalisation and re-energising through activity, new learning and experience.

It is important to spend at least one to two weeks doing nothing after you finish school / college. This is actually important for both your physical and psychological health, After the period of rest / transition, begin to spend your summer with purpose and reasoning. So, if you haven’t already your summer planned, these are some things to think about.

Those of you under 16:

  • Choose a new (or an existing) sport / activity, buy good gear / equipment for it and become really good at it
  • Take up exercising and do it every day or every second day and stick to it
  • Join a charity or do volunteer work
  • Spend quality time with relations / grandparents (your time with is precious)
  • Get a pet and care for it (if you do, remember it is for life, not just for summer)
  • Start reading books
  • Discover the great outdoors

 Those of you over 16:

  • Develop a CV and get a summer job
  • Travel
  • Learn to drive a car
  • Choose a new (or an existing) sport / activity, buy good gear / equipment for it and become really good at it
  • Do a project or big task in your home for your parents / family
  • Go to five places in Ireland that you always wanted to visit / see
  • Discover the great outdoors too!

Routine and discipline are key here. You have to want to do it and you have to enjoy it or it simply will not continue. When the end of August arrives, you will look back and say, ‘’that was a great, memorable and my best summer ever…!’’

The End of Another Year…

Here we are again, heading towards the end of April and May upon us with another year in college completed. It may be your first year or your last year, but whatever year it is, congratulations to you if you have stayed the course, sat the exams, completed them and feel confident of having done well. Final year examinations are about to start / have started in most Third Level academic institutions, while Second Level students are still waiting anxiously for June to arrive (only six weeks away now).

You are now in study mode. The knowledge has been given, shared and sourced. It is now time to reflect on everything you have learned and be able to find the energy to remember what you have learned and be able to articulate it on paper. It is not easy! Don’t regret not putting in the work on this the final hurdle.

With the examinations out of the way, you probably do not want to see a book or a laptop again and this I understand. Before starting your summer vacation or a summer job or indeed a full-time job, clear the desk! If it is your final year, try to find the time and motivation to transition from academia to job-hunting to employment by carefully and neatly stowing everything away. If you return to college again in autumn, think about what you need to do, prepare for now, so that the preparations are easier later.

Transitioning from education to holidays to employment can be difficult and energy-sapping. Think about what you have done, are doing and have to do. Get mindful and feel the transition, enjoy it and look forward to what the coming days, weeks and months can bring to you. If you are one of the 1000’s of Leaving Certificate students siting the exam this year, keep going, work as hard as you can and it will all be so worth it…well done…!