My answer to “What are the best things to do on weekends as a student at Hillsdale College?” on Quora

Over at Quora: What are the best things to do on weekends as a student at Hillsdale College?

My answer:

Take a break from studying and spend the weekends increasing your hiring potential after you graduate by doing one of the following things:

  • Work at either an on-campus job, one in town, or a remote online job and build up marketable skills for your resume. I was a photographer for the External Affairs office and a tech for the campus’s IT Services while I was at Hillsdale. Both of these things taught me a lot about problem solving, working with other people, and about building a portfolio of transferrable skills. They also put money in my pocket.
  • Freelance work. Learn something like design, web development, copy editing, etc. Build yourself a website and take on a few clients to make some extra money and to build up your portfolio. I taught myself how to build and customize WordPress sites at Hillsdale when I wasn’t studying.
  • Blog. The more you write, the better you will get at it. One of the most rewarding things I did for myself during my Hillsdale years was blogging every single day of my sophomore year. This taught me a lot about discipline, deadlines, producing on a schedule, and distilling my ideas. My writing improved dramatically over that year. Blogging on your own domain name will also help build your personal brand and set your apart from your peers upon graduation.
  • Projects. Tons and tons of projects. This is something I wish I had done more of during my undergrad years. Take everything you want to learn and turn it into a month-long project.
    • Want to learn photography? Get a camera (or borrow one) and take photos of different subjects each week for a month.
    • Want to improve your photography skills? Take only black and white photos for a month. Or focus on lighting for a month.
    • Build a 1-page webapp that has simple functionality to learn a popular javascript framework.
    • Prefer something more academic because you want to go to grad school? Write a series of profiles on famous people from history or current-day. Choose a subject and profile 10 lesser-known but important figures in the space.

The point I’m trying to make with this post is that if you intend to stand out after graduation, you need to do something that the rest of your peers aren’t willing to do. Yes, I know the academics are difficult (I was in the Honors program and I graduated early), but so is getting a job after graduation. Set yourself up for success by doing something other than studying all weekend every weekend.