With summer coming up, you may be wondering what you are going to do with all that free time. If sleeping all day and eating all night doesn’t really catch your fancy, there are plenty of ways you can effectively utilize your summer and gain valuable job and personal experience.

CreativeSuitePlay on Your Computer

Adobe recently released all of their creative suites 2 (CS2) products for free! Yes that means free Photoshop, but also free Illustrator, free Indesign, and free after effects. It’s tech heaven. There are tons of tutorials through Adobe and on Youtube about how you can use these programs effectively and professionally. If that’s not enough, you could also check out html.net and learn how to build your own website. Play around making movies or creating websites, and groom skills that will really set your job applications apart.



I know what you’re thinking, but this is for fun. Fun, the reason we all love school and love learning. Anyway, through Coursera.org you can take free online classes on various subjects through different universities all over the globe. The classes are usually presented in short weekly videos followed by basic interactive quizzes and short assignments. Did I mention the classes are FREE? All that added extra knowledge in various topics from nutrition to building a guitar amp could really set you apart when you start applying for internships.


Learn to Cook

                Curl up to the food network or the cooking channel and learn some great cooking tips from some pretty interesting people. You can even check out Youtube tutorials,  or check out the NSCS Pinterest page for easy and delicious recipes! Not only will your parents decide you are their new favorite, but you’ll have a creative outlet that is extremely useful in your own personal life. It may not set you apart in the job market, but it will set you apart in the dating market. The real reason you should learn to cook? It’s really fun!


Plant a Garden

With the environment coming more to the forefront of modern politics, it’s not unusual to see gardens on college campuses or backyards as people try to become more self-sustaining. Besides all the environmental perks of gardening, many people enjoy fostering the life of plants and having their yards look great. This is another great way to help out mom and dad, and also, a great opportunity to learn some necessary skills if you are planning to go into agriculture or volunteer with environmental groups.



It may be a little late now to get a really competitive internship, but look around your hometown to see who could use your help. Last year I found out that there was a magazine in my hometown and emailed the editor about whether or not they offered internships and I ended up spending two wonderful months learning about photo shoots and improving my writing. Depending on what you are interested in depends on who you should ask. If you are into journalism, email the editors of local newspapers to see if you could intern or shadow them one day. If you like music, check with radio stations to see what they offer. Thinking of medical school? See what the policy about internships or volunteering is at the hospitals nearby. You’ll never know what kind of internships you can find that may seem less glamorous, but will help you gain helpful skills or get a better idea of what you want to do after college.

Morgan DobbinsMorgan Dobbins is a first year student at UCLA currently studying history and religion. She has a variety of interests, but especially loves music and social media. She spends her free time finding ways to learn in a fun new way by taking up ukulele or attending random campus lectures. She is also a blogger for the award winning school newspaper.