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How Your Summer Can Still Be Productive Without an Internship

As life is somewhat returning to normal with millions of people getting vaccinated and COVID cases rapidly decreasing, many opportunities are opening up for this summer. While our first thoughts may be that we can finally safely hang out with our friends, how can we use this summer productively? Even though it may still be difficult to find an in-person or remote internship, there are plenty of ways that this summer can be both helpful and fun at the same time!

To stay on top of your academics, you may want to take one or two summer classes to get some credits out of the way! This may not be the most relaxing way to spend your summer, but taking classes over the summer can help lighten your workload during the school year and give you an opportunity to focus more on those specific classes since you’ll have more time. Last summer, since I wanted to get my lab science credit finished, I took an online physics course and got sent materials that helped me with labs right from my house! I would definitely recommend summer classes if you have the extra time and money because you will feel very accomplished!

Another way to spend your summer in a less demanding way could be mastering your skills, especially through resources like LinkedIn Learning. No matter what your interests are, you will most likely be able to find videos or online free courses from experts that can help you improve your existing skills. These videos/courses can range from several minutes to several hours, but you can learn at your own pace! I have saved at least 10 videos that I plan on watching during the summer whenever I feel like I want to learn more about writing or editing, since those skills will continue to help me with my interests.

If the last thing you want to do is spend your summer on your computer, volunteering might be a great option for you! There are plenty of opportunities on an international and/or local level that would love your help. If you want to help children, you could volunteer as far away as Africa or as close as your local Boys and Girls Club. This may still be difficult because many volunteering opportunities have minimal resources to combat the pandemic, but hopefully by the end of the summer things will be more under control!

So, if nothing is really jumping out at you yet, there must be something else on your mind, and maybe completing a personal project could work really well for you! When I say personal projects, I’m referring to writing a book, creating an album, developing your own app, starting a business, building/painting furniture – anything that gives you joy, not anyone else! I plan on writing and maybe even finishing my debut poetry collection that I have been gradually working on since quarantine first started, but I know I need the summer and more free time to dedicate to it. Personal projects don’t always have to relate to your career interests, but if they could help you improve your skills that’s just another creative way to help you grow!

Most importantly, one of the most productive ways to spend this summer is actually taking a break. I know there is a lot of pressure that could be put on by seeing our friends’ accomplishments or hearing our family questioning what we’re doing, but this has been one of the most draining and chaotic school years we will hopefully ever have. We all deserve to spend this summer relaxing by the pool, reading a good book, and spending time with friends and family. Because this has been a year defined by burnout, using this summer to take care of yourself might be the most useful in the long term. So, don’t feel bad about not having an internship this summer when you can really use this time for yourself! 

Ashley is majoring in English Literature and Psychology at Elon University. She is from South Florida and loves to spend time relaxing at the beach! On campus, she serves as Copy Editor for Elon's yearbook and works at Elon's Writing Center. In her free time, you can find her reading thrillers, writing poetry, taking bubble baths, or shopping online!
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