We’re in the middle of a pandemic right now, and you’re allowed to feel anxious, particularly when so much of the future remains uncertain. If you’re nervous about losing internships or failing to build your resume this summer, that’s a valid concern, and if you’re not even thinking about your resume right now, that’s also perfectly valid!
Summers are the perfect time for college students to develop professionally and personally through summer classes, study abroad trips, internships, summer jobs, or just relaxation. Now that we’re social distancing, there are a lot of things you can’t do, but you can still have an enriching summer. Personally, I crave structure and feel lost without a goal or ongoing activity, so I’ve been brainstorming ways I can develop and keep my community safe by practicing social distancing. Here are a few suggestions.
- If you have connections, stay in touch with them.
If you’ve already completed an internship or networked well, you probably have some contacts. Try to stay in touch with them, especially if you’re fresh in their memory. A lot of people are working home right now, so keep their adjusted schedule in mind and maintain professional etiquette. If you’re afraid of bothering them, don’t sweat it. A lot of us are lonely want someone to talk to, and they determine how and when they respond. If they’re too busy to reach out at all, that’s okay, too. If you don’t have a lot of contacts, reach out to professors, advisors, or peers you admire. This is a good time to create a LinkedIn profile and build your network!
- Look for remote internships.
Yes, a lot of internships have been cancelled, but there are still a ton of remote internships available! In March, Her Campus posted an article listing companies offering remote internships, but if those don’t appeal to you, there still others out there. Reach out to the career center or connections to see if they know of any. Consider a remote internship from the Clemson University Professional Internship and Co-op (UPIC) office.
- Take online classes.
Clemson’s campus may be closed, but summer school isn’t cancelled. If you adjusted well to online learning, online courses may be perfect for you. Taking summer classes can help you get ahead, compensate for extenuating circumstances like changing your major, or create more room in your schedule for community involvement or a minor. Talk with your advisor to consider your options.
- Dedicate more time to hobbies.
Hobbies are a good use of time. Personal and professional lives don’t have to be separate, nor are professional endeavors “better.” My best friend got into dental school, and during her interview, she expressed her passion for art! Creative writing is something I enjoy, and it keeps my mind sharp when I need to write a 10-page essay for class. Whatever your hobby is, give yourself more time to explore it. If you’re already a pro, consider making a social media account to share your expertise. It’s a nice stress reliever and proof you’re a well-rounded individual during interviews.
- Study for upcoming placement tests.
If you’re nearing graduation and considering graduate school, you’ll probably face some sort of standardized test. Take this time to prep for the test with books, online classes, or just individual study. If your friends are also taking the same test, make an online study group.
- Investigate major fellowships, scholarships, or programs of interest.
This is a nice time to consider your goals and expectations for the rest of your college experience and post-grad life. These are huge, complicated questions, and you don’t have to answer them alone. If you’re intimidated by the idea of a “major fellowship,” go investigating, and you may be more interested than you expected. Consider making an online appointment with the Office of Major Fellowships to discuss your options. If you want to join a particular program at Clemson, reach out to the director and learn more. Asking questions may be scary, but it’s worth it! You just may find the perfect opportunity.
- Learn more about campus activities and organizations.
Eventually, we will go back to campus, and when we do, we will all be a little more thankful to be there. If you’ve missed Clemson and want to make more of your undergraduate life, consider campus involvement. There are so many clubs at Clemson that you’re bound to find one that you’re interested in. Search on TigerQuest or ask around to find the right fit. Email club officers or follow them on social media to connect now so you’re ready to get the ball rolling as soon as you get to campus.
- Offer your time for community service.
Your community needs you right now. Consider giving your time to organizations like Crisis Text Line or other mental health organizations looking for remote volunteers. If you’re interested in human rights or the mission of Amnesty International, you can become an Amnesty Decoder and contribute to their work. Organizations like UPchieve connect online volunteers to disadvantaged high school students to provide online academic help. Locally, reach out to organizations to see if you can make masks, write letters to isolated individuals, foster animals, or provide support in other ways.
- Give yourself a break.
It’s okay if you don’t build up a fabulous resume or fill your time with productive activities. We’re literally living through a pandemic. Everyone will understand if you don’t walk out of quarantine with a list of accomplishments, and employers and grad schools won’t hold it against you.
Taking care of yourself is your primary goal right now, so focus on that. We’re going to be okay.