Deciding what you want to do with your college summers can be challenging. If you are like me, you look at summer as a few short months to get ahead, pack in as much professional development, and take a mental health break before you are off on your professional journey. We have you covered if you are looking for ways to make the most of your time away from school. 

Update your portfolio 

Grand Valley State University Advertising and Public Relations students make a portfolio in CAP 105 (Technology in Public Relations and Advertising). Creating a portfolio allows students to plan early and add all of their assignments and experiences throughout their time as a student. Coming off the school year, you have done some fantastic projects and writing pieces that would be great additions to your portfolio. Adding these projects throughout your portfolio is a great way to spend some extra time, as well as making some touch-ups. Updating your portfolio after every semester helps you stay ahead and ready for when an opportunity comes your way. 

Summer internships

As I am sure you already know, a summer internship is a fantastic way to develop yourself professionally during the summer. While at your internship, remember some of the best practices you learned in your Ad/PR classes. Noting what your company does and does not do can help you understand and observe more about what it looks like to be a successful PR professional. If you do not have a summer internship, try incorporating all things PR at your current job. Ask to do the social media or say that you have some new ideas that could get your company some media coverage. At the very least, keep notes of how your current summer job could benefit from some of PR’s practices. Choosing to see PR in all areas of your life can help you make strategic decisions in your next internship.

Get coffee with a professional 

Now that you have a little extra time on your hands, you can do some of that networking you have been putting off. Reach out to PR professionals in your hometown area on LinkedIn and set up a day to get coffee and ask questions. Talking with individuals who are already in the business will help shape what you want your career path to be. These one-on-ones can give you insights into the industry’s good, bad, and surprising. Not to mention you could make a connection for life. If you are looking for further mentorship or are unsure where to start, check out the WMPRSA mentorship match program. This program pairs professionals with students during the academic semesters allowing you to receive career guidance and professional growth through the support of someone matched directly to you. 

Go to a seminar

During the summer season, there are many opportunities to learn outside the classroom. Seminars, zoom sessions, and podcasts are great ways to keep your knowledge sharp come fall. Whether it is learning about a specialty of PR or how to be more inclusive in the professional world, there are so many opportunities to take advantage of in your free time.

Get involved

Summer is a great time to reach out to your school’s PRSSA chapter and get involved. The executive board and current members would love to get to know you better and help you feel welcome come fall semester. Be sure to follow GVPRSSA on Instagram to stay informed of upcoming events and meetings. We promise you will not regret it. 

Take a break! 

Most of all, do not be afraid to take mental health days. Take time to relax! Days spent reading a good book, going for a walk, or doing nothing at all is what will rejuvenate you and make you ready to dominate this next semester! Pretty soon, you will be in full swing of your career with your college summers in the rear view… make them worthwhile.

Reilly is a senior studying Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Digital Studies. Reilly is currently the Vice President of Chapter Development for GVPRSSA and will serve as an account associate for GrandPR in the fall. During the summer, she works as a Public Relations Intern for Young Entrepreneurs Across America. After graduation, Reilly hopes to join a Public Relations agency.