40 Resume-Worthy Activities You Can Do From Your Living Room Sofa

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I have often said that students who leverage their four high school years of summer breaks have a full year of growth and development over those who don’t. However, as academic programs cancel in-person sessions, international travel remains questionable, and internships and research opportunities await the economic impact from COVID-19, how can you take advantage of this summer to pursue your interests and grow in meaningful ways while practicing social distancing? Here are 40 resume-worthy activities that you can do from your living room sofa:

  1. Learn Something: Take one of thousands of online courses across a variety of topics taught by the world’s top universities through platforms like Coursera, edX, and MOOC.
  2. Get Political: Contact your local Democratic or Republican campaign offices for “at home” contributions, such as stuffing mailers, calling voters or creating a “virtual” campaign.
  3. Become an Entrepreneur: Launch an Etsy, Ebay or Amazon Shop to sell your creative pieces, unused items or, virtually, anything.
  4. Share Your Knowledge: My business school class president parlayed the online math tutorials he made for his cousin into the global educational revolution, Khan Academy. Develop your own online tutoring business to teach academic subjects, computer literacy, personal finance, or any other skill that you have. Maybe you will start a revolution too!
  5. Take Pics: Create a photojournalism project to highlight your creativity and unique perspectives.
  6. Start a Blog: Express your insights and musings while showcasing your writing prowess.
  7. Get Creative: Write a screenplay, novel or cookbook and see if you can get your work produced.
  8. Go Global: Learn a new language through one of the many online learning platforms like Babbel, Rosetta Stone or DuoLingo or find native speakers who will teach you their language, culture and colloquialisms through sites like Verbling.
  9. Become a Concierge: Build an online service that serves as a one-stop shop for people to run errands, secure home services, and plan activities.
  10. Collaborate Globally: Find a global community dedicated to accomplishing a shared goal. One of my clients who just graduated from Cornell University with a degree in aerospace engineering wrote his college essay about working with an international team to painstakingly reconstruct the Titanic – down to the specific faucets in the cabins and the stemware in the dining room.
  11. Become a Critic: Do you love to try food from around the world? Are you an expert gamer? Do you find yourself getting lost in movies or TV shows? Start sharing your opinions. One of my classmates, Zibby Owens, turned her love of books into a thriving business. Could you be next?
  12. Doodle for Google: Tap into your imagination and submit a design to Google for a chance to have your design featured as the Google search engine logo.
  13. Do Research: While most research programs require in person attendance, Pioneer Academics offers high school students the opportunity to do research virtually while earning college credit.
  14. Get Voting: It’s an election year so it’s a great time to lead an online voter registration drive.
  15. Produce a Newsletter: Start a regular newsletter for your neighborhood, church or sports team.
  16. Go On Stage: Create a virtual open mic night so performing artists can showcase their talents.
  17. Make a Joke: Learn how to craft a stand-up routine, create comedic story lines and film direction from Judd Apatow, the comic genius behind classics lie The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, GIRLS, and Freaks and Geeks.
  18. Get Talking: Practice video interview skills to prepare for college interviews which may very likely go online next year.
  19. Make (Virtual) Money: Test your market knowledge through Wharton’s KWHS virtual portfolio management competition.
  20. Get Physical: Train to run a 10k or compete in a triathlon.
  21. Solve a Mystery: Collaborate with teams of students in a virtual classroom to solve a mystery through Duke TIP’s eInvestigators program for students in grades 4-6.
  22. Start Designing: Develop a virtual team to compete in next year’s Vans Custom Culture for the chance to win $50,000 for your school’s art program.
  23. Raise Money: Launch an online fundraising challenge to benefit an organization that is meaningful to you.
  24. Get Connected: Start a pen pal campaign with students from a school in another country or geographic region.
  25. Build a Brand: Help a small business or non-profit organization develop marketing materials or a social media presence.
  26. Improve Literacy: Hold online group reading sessions to help children, adults, and ESL students improve their reading skills.
  27. Get Smart: Become a subject matter expert in an area that interests you. Then, contribute your knowledge to online forums such as “Ask the Expert” or “LinkedIn Answers.”
  28. Save a Life: Volunteer to be a counselor for a crisis hotline.
  29. Perform Online: Share your music, dance or theater performances for audiences through an online platform like Tik Tok, Facebook Live or You Tube.
  30. Test Your Skills: Enter online contests, such as the Americanism Essay Contest which awards a monetary prize for students in grades 7-12 for a winning essay.
  31. Become a TV Star: Develop a You Tube channel to share a talent, deliver a tutorial or share a topic of interest.
  32. Conduct Analysis: While many businesses may not be in a position to take on a summer intern, most organizations would benefit from outsourcing research and analysis. Identify businesses or non-profits that would benefit from your data mining and critical thinking skills.
  33. Shape the Conversation: Write for the local newspaper or submit op ed pieces about current events in your community.
  34. Explore Careers: Interview professionals across various industries and job functions. With their permission, record the conversations and share them with other young adults or those considering making a career change through social media platforms, job exploration sites or your own website.
  35. Start a Neighborhood Business: Well, this isn’t entirely from your couch but activities like dog walking, lawn mowing, pool cleaning, and fence painting can be safely done outside while practicing responsible social distancing.
  36. Teach ESL: Help students around the world learn English through a company like VipKid.
  37. Create a Cultural Share: Do you know what an Annaprasana Pooja is? Have you ever tried souse? Build a platform to share your regional culture and traditions with people in other parts of the country or across the globe and invite them to do the same.
  38. Research Your Family History: Use one of the many platforms to delve into your family background and supplement your online research with interviews with family members and friends to learn about your family history. Create a film or book to consolidate your results. In addition to recording your history and tightening your bonds with relatives, this may give rise to a compelling college essay!
  39. Dig in the Dirt: Build a community garden.
  40. Help Stem the Spread of COVID-19: Develop additional supply of protective masks by using a 3D printer or sewing machine, create an app that tracks the spread and/or identify patients who have recovered, launch a blood drive.

Please contact me at stef.mauler@themaulerinstitute.com if you would like to set up a time to develop a custom summer plan.

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