Get out of your comfort zone! Bottom-line is that that is good for you. To show that I am not all talk, here is the rather self-centred but hopefully helpful exposé of what I did during my University career.
DISCLAIMER – I know that many of you don’t have the luxury of being able to get away like I did. Maybe you have to help out the family business, help out around the home or quite simply don’t have the financial resources. I hope that there will still be a few things here, like the suggestion to do vacation work at an accounting firm, that spark some ideas for your time away from University.
END OF 1ST YEAR
>>> Get a job
Nothing like a little bit of work to make you appreciate the rest of the year when you are at University. Benefits like money are obvious but it also allows you to pick up valuable management skills and meet new people who don’t think like you. Well worth it. I waited tables at a restaurant at the Waterfront for my first December vac – that allowed me to save money to go to the USA for my second December vac.
END OF 2ND YEAR
>>> Work overseas
I made a mission to a ski resort at Lake Tahoe in the USA. I had never seen snow before and had a ball. When I got back I worked as a recruiter for SASTS (the organisation I went with). That sparked my appetite for more and I struck a deal with SASTS that meant I got to go on their Work Ireland programme after my 4th year.
END OF 3RD YEAR
>>> Stay at home but go huge
My plans of travelling didn’t work well because my visa to go back to the States was heavily delayed due to 9/11 going down in that year. I decided therefore to stay at home but used the time productively doing the following: Reading good books in the sun, planning events for the next year because I was involved in quite a few societies on campus, did vacation work at different firms, applied for a bursary, road tripped around SA staying in backpackers (get a free Coast-to-Coast guide in any backpackers and be amazed at all the affordable options – Buccaneers in Chintsa is still the winner of all time!), thought about life and decided to give God the proper place in my life. This time was powerful and not a case of being “left behind” just because I didn’t get any stamps in my passport.
END OF 4TH YEAR
>>> Work overseas
This time it was off to Dublin to work as a bartender/waiter. Ireland was a great country with friendly people and fantastic natural beauty. I saved money with the goal of buying a car but still explored my way down to Wexford and across to Galway. When my feet returned to SA and I started PGDA 48 hours later, I was ready for the workload that was ahead of me!
WHAT I SHOULD ALSO HAVE DONE
>>> The entrepreneurship angle. Starting a business or starting to invest in the stock market would be two options I should have explored.
>>> June vacations weren’t as well thought out as the December ones – they are nearly 6 weeks now and should also be optimised
Hope that this helps you guys to get out of your comfort zones and use those holidays! Please post any other good ideas you have and/or war stories about what you have planned/have done already.