Let’s face it, summer is just around the corner. For the average college student, the impending summer months also come with stress about what to actually do between May and August. Although some may be lucky enough to have a cool paid job already lined up, the rest of us are stuck struggling to find something interesting to do, all while juggling other potential external pressures like finances or summer housing. Whether you are interested in an internship, volunteer work, or a paying job, there are ways to lessen the anxieties of making your plans and finding something that is right for you. Here are a few tips that help make the process a little less horrible.
- Narrow In
Something that I know I struggled with in the past was just not knowing where to start the search. Sometimes it’s hard deciding how interests can translate into ways to fill your summer. The more time that you spend, really researching areas that you think you may be inclined to learn more about, the more comfortable you will feel in making a decision about what you want to pursue. By gathering all the information, including the pros and cons, like scholarship opportunities, housing accomodations, job perks or payment, you are getting the full picture of what each type of opportunity offers.
- Use Your Past Experiences
Knowing what you don’t want to do and what you don’t like is also important when looking for a job. Remember that summer you spent making coffee and copies for three months? Use that experience to inform your research for this summer. In order to choose what opportunities you may be interested in, you have to know what you don’t want to be doing. And remember, summer isn’t forever. If you find that you made the wrong decision, or that your area of interest didn’t turn out as expected, you can sleep easy knowing it’s only three months long. You’ve got this!
- Use Your Resources
The number one tip I can suggest is something that I think people often forget about. Most schools, including Colby, have strong career centers that are solely meant to help students find opportunities, including for the summer. Now say what you want about Davis Connects, but not setting up one meeting, even if all that you get out of it is help working on your resume, is wasting a free resource. In the best case, Davis Connects could help you find contacts in your area of interest or even have internship ideas in mind. It’s worth a shot, especially because it’s free.
- Network, Network, Network!
Here’s the thing, when we look for jobs, there is a certain amount of pride involved. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to work hard and find a job completely on your own, but there is also something to be said for making connections with people who may be able to help you get a leg up. As daunting as it sounds to email a random friend of your father’s or your best friend’s aunt, making connections with successful people in your area of interest is incredibly valuable and beneficial. Not only will contacting these types of people maybe help you gain an opportunity, but you may just be able to gain some insight about their field or maintain a relationship for later in life. No one ever wants to just get a job solely because they know someone, but in reality, networking has become a very integral part of finding opportunities. Contacting a successful person in your area of interest, no matter how you found the connection in the first place, is simply getting a foot in the door. Don’t let your pride get in the way.
- Do Your Research
If you get to the interview stage for an opportunity, make sure to know your stuff. Searching specifics about the company and person you will be interviewing with, if you know ahead of time, is a beneficial way to feel confident going in. Take the time to become well-versed on topics or questions that you think may come up. If you want extra practice, go over talking points or practice answering questions with a friend to physically feel prepared.
Whether you decide to pursue a volunteer position, apply for an internship, travel, or find a job, with these tips, you will be better equipped to help navigate the challenging and stressful process. Although it can be tempting to compare yourself to your friends, know that in the end, you have the make the decision that is right for your personal wellbeing and situation. No one opportunity is better than another; it is simply about what is best for you!