Introducing Eden Lynch ’18, a new contributor at Her Campus Amherst with her tips on how to achieve your ideal summer. Use these tips to enhance your current summer plans or to get a head start on next year!
I am stressed out about summer. There are so many options available from taking summer courses abroad, interning with a publishing company, or doing summer research. I find myself reminiscing about the days when my parents would sign me up for various summer activities—all I had to do was hop in the car and remember to bring my lunch. Now that those long, hazy days have turned into ways to enhance our resumes, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Whether you have a clear idea of what you want to do, or, like me, are fumbling around with the possibilities, here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.
Do what feels right for you
Comparing your plans with those of others can make anyone feel inadequate. A close friend may be going on a volunteer trip to Taiwan, or working for an acclaimed law firm. However, you should make decisions based on your distinct interests. Summers are meant for experimenting and exploring your talents and potential careers, or taking some much needed time to improve your mental health. That person who lives on your floor may be great at organizing and planning events, while you might find the task irksome. Don’t choose an internship that beautifies your resume only to occupy your summer with something you won’t actually enjoy.
Jobs or internships?
The school year takes a toll on our bank accounts like no other. Books, ordering food on undesirable Val days, and buying clothes online all add up. If there’s an internship you want that’s unpaid, don’t get discouraged! Sometimes internships only ask for a 3 to 4 day commitment per week. This means you can work a part time job and still get experience in a field of work that you’re interested in. Also, even if the internship does not offer an hourly salary, your employer may give you a stipend at the end of summer. Amherst can also assist students who need funding for unpaid internships at the Center for Community Engagement and at the Career Center. Do your research, talk with faculty and consult with fellow students before giving up on an exciting opportunity.
Ask for help
It never hurts to ask other adults in your life for job opportunities during the summer. Aunts, cousins, neighbors, and your parent’s coworkers are all valuable resources. More often than not, they are completely happy to help! Most of the internships that I found have been suggestions from family friends. There may be options available that are not widely publicized, so you may find something that’s the perfect fit for you.
There are plenty of ways to spend your summer in another country. Backpacking, volunteering with an organization, or taking classes at another university. Sometimes the trip may be less expensive than you think, and some programs offer scholarships if you apply in time. While financial aid does not cover abroad at Amherst, fellowship programs through the college can assist students with the financial burden of going abroad. If traveling is something you’re passionate about, don’t let the fear of missing out on hanging with your friends prevent you from doing so. You can make meaningful memories abroad that wouldn’t happen while you are at home. That is not to say that reconnecting with friends and family is not important, so talk it over with your parents before making a decision to be gone for most of the summer.
Set aside some time for fun weekends
If you feel like having a job would interfere with enjoying those late, summer nights, make plans for having weekend adventures. Spontaneity has its merits, but having specific trips or events in mind will help you maximize your free time. Going to the beach for a weekend, attending a music festival, or even having a movie-marathon night in will create a pleasant balance between productivity and relaxation.
Lastly, make yourself uncomfortable sometimes. It is easy to let those midsummer days become monotonous, that when you look back you can’t tell June from July. Prevent that from happening by engaging in activities that you don’t have time for during the school year. Learn a new talent, explore new hiking trails you’ve never been to, or become a regular at a local café. There’s a long summer ahead, so dare yourself to try something different.