Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

February 18, 2009 9:23 PM

Planning for Summer

Even though the Spring Semester has just started and first round of midterms are beginning, now is the perfect to start thinking about summer. Not only because it helps you get through the late night studying knowing that in 3.5 months you can finally sleep in and relax. :) But also because a lot of deadlines for summer programs are quickly approaching and it's important to start thinking about you want to do so in order to take advantage of all the great opportunities available. So here are some ideas of what to do during the summer.

1. Summer school. Berkeley Telebears is now open for the summer session, so if you need to take a couple of classes now is the time to register. Here are some suggestions to think about when picking classes. Make sure you balance out hard classes with easy classes. Because summer session is shorter than a regular semester, classes like MCB 102 typically go very fast and cover a lot of material in a short amount of time. So if you plan on taking a demanding course, make sure you will have the time to dedicate to it. Otherwise, you might want to reconsider taking that course in the fall or spring. Also, in order to qualify for financial aid you will need to take a minimum of 6 units during the summer. And if you're not on financial aid, the number of units that you take will determine your tuition fee.

You can also take summer school at a community college if you are planning on being away from Berkeley or want a cheaper alternative (cost of community college classes are also based on units). Make sure you talk to your adviser to see if the classes you take are transferable.

2. Work/Internship. Summer is a great time to work and save/make money. Try finding a job or internship that relates to something that you like doing. If you're not sure about what you want to do as a major/career, you can shadow or work in a couple of different places to get a better idea of the kind of work that is being done. You just might find out what it is that you want to (or don't want to) do in the future.

3. Volunteer. You can volunteer locally or internationally. There are a lot of programs available that allow you to travel for the summer, so you get to see the world and help others out. Most international programs have deadlines in February/March so check out the different programs out there and apply right away.

4. Research. Berkeley has a lot of great opportunities for research during the summer. Look at the list of research programs that Irene, another PAL, posted on her blog. You can also talk to your professors and ask if they need any help in their lab for the summer. You may even be able to continue your summer research into the fall semester if the professor and you want to.

5. Relax. Take a couple of months off and relax after a hard school year. Sleep in, visit friends and family and travel. Take the time you need to re-energize yourself so that you can come back to Berkeley ready to take on another semester.

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