It is around that time of the year again when tertiary students strive to be purposeful during the second semester break. In an ever-competitive world that looks beyond GPA, the long vacation provides students with an opportunity to pad onto their CVs, experiences and skills. These will go a long way in making them stand out among the lot, whether in the job market or any other competitive sphere they find themselves.
The usual avenue to expend the time is by landing an internship. This space is increasingly being crowded and students are left stranded in their search for internships, whether good or bad, paying or non-paying. If you happen to have still not found an internship, read on for four things you can judiciously and fruitfully spend your time on during this long break.
1. Volunteer at an underprivileged school or social service provider
It goes without saying that a number of basic schools in our country are both understaffed and substandard. Teacher to student ratios are extremely poor at most of these schools and even when the ratio is good, the standard of teaching is subpar. As a tertiary student, you are better qualified than some of these teachers and thus in a good position to offer your time and knowledge to some of these schools. Volunteering to teach (pro bono) affords you an opportunity to improve your public speaking skills while doing some good for others. This as well as offering to volunteer at either an orphanage or adult home goes a long way to make you more empathetic to others, something human resource managers say is increasingly in high demand at work places today.
2. Travel as far and wide as your budget would allow you to
When people hear the talks on the need to travel, they instantaneously think getting a visa, a plane ticket and leaving to an exotic beach with white sand and turquoise oceans. But travel involves more than just a Hollywood depicted get away. Travel is closer to us than we imagine. Budget well, hop on to a Trotro or inter-city bus (STC, VIP, OA etc.) and journey to Larabanga mosque, the Kintampo Falls, or the village on stilts at Nzulenzu. You can hike the Afadjato Mountain or walk the canopies of the Kakum Forest.
Travelling within Ghana (or beyond if you have the wherewithal) is an opportunity for you to witness the life lived by others. It broadens your horizons and exposes you to different perspectives. This experience is worth breaking up your “susu” box and channeling your savings into this endeavor.
3. Learn photography or start a blog
Storytelling is increasingly becoming a very important tool and you need to be a part of it! The lion is taking back the narrative from the hunter so the glorification of the hunt is no longer titled to one side. With a WordPress or Blogspot platform, you can start a personal blog and chronicle whatever it is you want the world to know. It could be your personal life, your academic struggles, your clothing line or even short stories you have written but stashed away. This vacation offers you a great opportunity to use your time in letting the world know something you deem worthy.
You could also join the growing community of photographers in Ghana. By investing into a modestly priced (full meaning of DSLR) DSLR camera (Canon, Nikon, or any other brand), you can start taking cool pictures of things and persons around you. Getting a camera is not the last stop. You need to invest time into learning how to edit your photos (either with Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom).
Both blogging and photography have the potential to be monetized so long as you are doing it right!
4. Learn how to swim, get behind a wheel
One ultimate survival skill every one of us should have is swimming. The ability to waddle around in a deep pool of water without drowning is something that can save your life in several circumstances. Only recently, a final year student at one of the nation’s tertiary institutions drowned in a pool and none of those nearby was able to save him. In addition to increasing your chances of survival in a flooding or drowning situation, learning how to swim is also another way of working out and staying healthy. It also happens to be a more enduring workout than jogging!
After you perfect your swimming, get behind a wheel, learn how to drive and acquire a license. As you inch further and further towards a work life, you will need to know how to drive. You might not necessarily own a car but you might find yourself in a corporate setting where knowing how to drive becomes an added advantage. In your entry-level position, your boss might on some days count on you to drive him or her to a meeting or a company car might be available to you so long as you are comfortable behind the wheel.