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Top Five Ways Not to Waste Your Summer

17/06/2013 13:21 BST | Updated 14/08/2013 10:12 BST

As the summer dawns ever closer, graduates begin to surface from the library. Bleary eyed, tired but at last, finally free. After months and months of slaving away in the library, students and soon to be graduates are done with the slog of end of year exams. Liberated from all of this stress students now face a long, barron abyss until they return in September. While those who have just completed their final year, the abyss could not seem more terrifying. Plans have been bubbling away at the back of their minds about what to do next, while it also comes as a sickening realisation for first and second years that they have one year less.

Students often spend summers, travelling, festivaling, holidaying and generally having a good long relax. They've deserved it, why not? However this small sickness seeps in of how they are going to cope in the big, real world. Here are five ways not to waste your summer, while at least trying to have fun at the same time.

1. Internships

Internships get a lot of bad press. I understand the nature of some, and I mean some, can be gruelling, expensive wastes of time. I also understand that some can be entirely useless, with interns being given menial tasks with little chance to learn. However, a stint in the real world, in a environment you might have been considering after university can be really enjoyable. If it doesn't feed your passion to pursue that career, it will point you in a different direction. You never know until you've tried. There are numerous summer programmes run by various companies and organisations for you to try your hand at.

2. Work Experience

In a very much similar vein to internships, however slightly less formal. If you want to try your hand at a certain profession, get on the internet, find out who you'd like to work shadow or who you need to contact to get in somewhere, then hound them until somebody eventually cracks. This could also include volunteering with charities or community projects. Whether it is two weeks or six, any experience in a particular environment will be a great addition to your CV.

3. DIY...

Not quite the painting and plastering you might expect, but if no one is biting and letting you through the door - do it yourself. The great thing about university is that you have a group of friends with a variety of skills that allow you to do almost anything with the right drive and ideas. Whether its creating your own online magazine, organising publicity for a local event or keeping the books for a community project. These all prove invaluable ways to improve your employability for later in life.

4. ...And make some money in the meantime

You don't have to take out a bank loan or be back by some multimillionaire private financier to start up a business. We've all seen how them dimwits on The Apprentice struggle to find the difference between their elbows and their assets, why can't you do it? You could set up a food stall at a local farmer's market, or if you fancy a drink to help you along start a club night at a local pub or bar. The possibilities are a limited as your imagination.

5. Have some fun

Rarely do you get such an extended break off. With the intensity of the last few months done and survived, you've earnt the lie ins and the afternoons in beer gardens. While its not exactly productive, nor is it a waste of your summer. Go to festivals, on holiday or whatever it is the young folk do nowadays. Enjoy, because if you're not careful you'll find yourself in the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and this length of time off is entirely unheard of.

I don't mean to be a killjoy and scare you into staying in the library until lectures start again, but keep an eye on the future. Although university is without a doubt the most fun you'll ever have, it is also the quickest three years of your life.