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Your pre-summer preparation checklist

Colin Sutherland | Fulcrum Contributor

SUMMER ACTS AS the light at the end of the dark and icy tunnel we call winter. March might still be cold, but it is the ideal time to start getting ready for an epic Canadian summer. For a lot of us, this will include a summer job, days at the beach, and partying it up at some great festivals.

However, if you want to have the summer of your dreams, there are things you should start thinking about now.


Get hunting for jobs

One of the first things I become obsessed with around March is finding the perfect summer job. With careful research and my fair share of luck, I’ve landed jobs working in a number of unforgettable locations including the Ontario wilderness, the coast of Newfoundland, and even France.

I asked Kayla Alexandroplous, a bachelor of education student at the University of Ottawa, how she prepares for the summer job hunt.

“I usually start looking into jobs around February, but some application processes, such as for the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP), begin in November,” said Alexandropolous.

FSWEP is an online database that matches post-secondary students with jobs in the federal government. The Ontario government has a similar program online; the next round of postings for this database is on March 8, when students can find many available positions, including jobs with Ontario Parks.

“I have been really lucky to have quite a few interesting jobs, usually in the realm of experiential education, which means I developed programs and tours that educated visitors on a specific topic, ranging from lighthouses and birds; to geology, and, finally, on sea creatures living in the Atlantic Ocean!” said Alexandropolous.

Alexandroplous says the best way to find these jobs is to do your research.

“If you speak to someone and they mention they have an awesome summer job, always, always ask them how they found it. Most people love to share.”

What last advice does Alexandropolous leave for U of O students in their job search?

“The ideal job is one that for the most part, you enjoy going to, because four months can stretch into feeling like four years if you hate where you work.”


Get to work on that beach bod

We all know summer isn’t just about making money. After spending many cold months inside, many students will be flocking to the beaches along the Ottawa River.  Whether they will be sporting the bods of gods is questionable.

Lindsay Little, a fourth-year sociology major at the U of O, moonlights as a spinning instructor and says now is the time to start getting in shape.

“Being fit and healthy benefits all areas of your life,” she said. “Of course, you get the generic benefits of losing weight, toning up, or building muscle mass, depending on what you do for a workout. It helps your butt, but it also helps your heart.”

Little explained that it’s important to pace yourself as you get back into an exercise routine.

“Ease back into it. Some people go too hard after New Years and burn out,” she explained. “Build up to where you want to be; don’t expect that your desired body is going to magically appear after one workout. And do not underestimate the impact of eating healthy.”


Plan your summer activities early

Summer isn’t all work, and no play either. It’s also time to let loose and have fun. One of the best things to do in Ottawa is to check out any of the great music festivals.

While Ottawa in the winter takes on the persona of a grumpy old lady, her summer personality is much more akin to a screaming party girl at Cabin.

Chris Blackstone, a fourth-year political science and public administration student, explained how he gets the most out of festival season.

“In the average summer, I will do my best to attend Jazzfest, Bluesfest, and Folkfest,” said Blackstone, citing Bluesfest as his favorite.

Even though tickets for these events can be expensive, Blackstone explained that doing your research and planning your festivals in advance not only encourages you to discover new music but can also save you money.

“I think you’d be hard pressed to find 10 days of entertainment for $200 almost anywhere,” explained Blackstone.

“Festivals are a blast, but beyond that, everyone should do whatever they can to support their local scene,” he continued. “There are bands playing their hearts out every night, and if you search them out, I guarantee you’ll have a great night.”

Whether your idea of a perfect summer involves a great job, beach days, sweaty concerts, or all of the above, planning now will be the difference between a few great nights and the best four months of your life—at least until next summer.