The Value of Personal Projects

It’s the middle of the summer – yay! Some of us are still very busy with jobs and internships, and others may be taking a very well-deserved break. The four months in between the winter and fall semesters gives students plenty of time to work on other things besides classes and coursework. For some, keeping yourself busy during this time can be a little hard to do! The competition for summer positions is very real and sometimes entry-level jobs asking for less than a few years of experience are a challenge to find. Getting started is not easy. It may be a good idea to consider working on some personal projects.

Taking on personal projects are a good way to show your interest and motivation in a field. Initiating your project, and staying organized and invested in it, shows a lot about your work ethic and aspirations. An independent project not only demonstrates your assets to any future employers, but also provide a very valuable and rewarding learning experience for you. Personal projects are work – they demand time and effort, lack the guarantee of success, and that often without being instantly gratifying. For these reasons, the drive to work on them, overcome any bumps along the way, and complete them is a unique adventure. You learn certain things that working under someone’s orders and supervision simply does not teach you.

Personal projects can include things like creating a short film to raise awareness, blogging or publishing subject matter that is important to you, community outreach in vulnerable areas, implementing educational workshops, fundraising for a specific cause, among many other possibilities. My own personal project from a couple years ago involved getting a group of about 30 school-aged children together from a disadvantaged neighborhood several times a month to learn about a new culture and language through activities, lessons, games and play, in hopes that this would someday be of use to them. Not only was this be beneficial to someone else, but it also showed me what I was capable of.

If you’re in need of something to keep you occupied, definitely think about working on your own independent project. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but maybe try something that seems daunting – possibly a little scary – yet, realistic and easily broken up into attainable goals. If only for the personal growth you will undergo and the greater appreciation for the smaller, perhaps less obvious successes you will have, give it a try. I promise, it is 110% worth it.

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