“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain
This quote rings true with me each time I hear someone ask, “Where do I start?” My response is always, “Break it down.” Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people break down. They have a fleeting idea of a goal; an immediate reaction to how to get there, and then an impulse act that they hope will bring about the end result they originally imagined. Creating that successful summer experience requires that you have a plan though, not just an act of impulse. Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are on a path that can provide enormous opportunity and create background experiences that set you up for success. So, as part of the plan, begin by evaluating your needs.
As a student, there are four “needs” to consider when planning your summer. Keep in mind, your plan may include parallel paths to meet these needs.
1. Financial Need – Do you need to make money for spending cash or are you in need of making money to be able to make expenses when you return to school? Do you need to make money to pay for college? If “financial need” is a primary concern for your summer, then getting started on your pursuit of summer employment is immediate and last week’s blog included some informative and helpful websites for that search.
2. Experience Need – Experience presents itself in many forms. It can be an internship, externship, or participation with an organization. Internships may be with or without pay, but the big payoff is experience with a company that can build toward future employment with them or at least the benefit of learning what you do or don’t want to do in your future. Participation with an organization may be in the form of an athletic team and building skills and stats toward college or professional opportunities. Either way, the experience is your primary need.
3. Volunteer Need – This one is of particular importance to high school students but should not be dismissed by the college student. Volunteering speaks to your character. Many high schools require community service as part of their graduation requirements. Universities look at volunteerism as one element of consideration when admitting students. Companies look at your community involvement as commitment, community outreach and opportunities to be seen as a positive extension of their own business. Assess your schedule and your need to increase your volunteer capacity.
4. Education Need – Do you need to take summer courses? Does your graduation date indicate that you are on track with completing your diploma or degree on-time? Do you want to get ahead on your timeline? Assessing your summer needs for education requires that you know where you are today in your plan, seeing the end-date, and working backward on the calendar to ensure an on-time completion.
With these four identified needs, evaluating your potential summer activities now becomes more focused and allows you to take the steps essential to creating great opportunities. Your path may be consumed by one of these “Needs” or you may be able to combine paths if you have multiple needs and a schedule that will accomodate. Either way, by planning now you can design a unique opportunity setting yourself up for future success.
Remember, ” The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks…” Need help breaking it down? Contact me.