Every summer when I’ve finished university and head home, I question whether I want to go back to work over the summer. I’ve worked in the same cafe every summer for 3 years, and I always go back because I have so much free time on my hands. Plus, when I’m at home for 3 months, I’m always in need of the money! After the initial reluctance to return to work, I always end up enjoying working with the team again and getting back into the swing of earning money. However, it sometimes becomes hard to find a balance between work and doing other things over the summer. I thought a lot of people would be considering working over the summer, so I thought I’d make a list of some things I’ve found with my past experience.
1. Try to find a balance between working and doing other things.
My job works in the sense that we get a rota every week, and I tend to do around 4 days a week, but the shifts change on a weekly basis. Whilst it’s nice to have a bit of variety, it means making plans with friends and planning trips can be quite tricky. But you have to just factor this in and make time to do other things, even if you have to be a bit cheeky and ask for days off if you are able to or swap shifts with someone. Summer is a good opportunity to unwind after a stressful year, and whilst I (particularly my bank balance) want to work as much as possible, it is also important to relax!
2, Make time for yourself.
I think having me-time is really important, and since going to university I’ve just generally become quite independent and enjoy being on my own. As much as I love seeing friends and being around people 24/7 when I’m in Plymouth, coming home to a complete contrast in my quiet village is nice too, and a good chance to have a bit of a detox. Being able to spend sunny days in the garden and having BBQ's is so nice.
3. Make sure you're getting paid enough.
We’re students and in need of as much money as we can get, so I try to keep a spreadsheet and write down all the hours that I’ve worked. I normally get paid on a monthly basis, so when I do get paid, I can check that it reflects the amount of work I’ve done. Mistakes are easily made, so this just prevents getting underpaid at all. If you’re not happy with the rate at which you are paid or the hours your given, it’s always worth asking, particularly If your returning to the same job but are doing new roles within it.
4. Preparing for the next year.
As much as I just want to relax and refuel in time for third year, I don’t want to forget about the approaching dissertation that I’ll be writing come September. I need to start reading around my dissertation and plan out what I want to research. I always tend to leave these things until last minute so my plan is to start the reading now so that I can take it slowly and leave myself enough time. We’ll see how this goes! I also want to use the spare time I have to get into painting again because I don’t have much time during the year.
5. Give yourself a holiday!
Whether this is somewhere abroad, in the UK or literally just having a day out somewhere, getting away always helps give me a bit of headspace and time to completely relax.
The 3 months of summer always fly by scarily quickly and before you know it we’re back at university. It’s scary to think that this time next year I’ll be finished university completely and graduating, and hopefully going onto a master’s course or into a full-time job! Summer won’t always be 3 months of working part time and having the rest of the time to relax, so I want to enjoy it while I can!