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It’s Okay Not To Have Summer Plans

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Generation Z is ditching the 9-to-5, so it’s only natural that the traditional expectations for summer jobs and internships go with it. Unfortunately, toxic productivity and hustle culture have rendered summer planning excruciating for countless college students. Rather than relishing the break for what it is (a break), they scramble for resume-boosting activities, jobs and internships, despite a lack of interest and, often, despite these not necessarily being significantly beneficial for their career or academic pursuits. Passion projects and side hustles, those untraditional pursuits you consider hobbies, might be the best boosters of all. 

Passion projects, unlike corporate internships, communicate ambition, drive and dedication on the individual level. Such projects include the pursuit of any venture out of interest or as a hobby. By creating room for creativity and genuine enthusiasm, projects promote lucrative outcomes and opportunities while eliminating the pressures of structure or the hierarchy of corporate or school-related positions. 

For me, a passion project this summer is creating a poetry anthology. Since high school, I have wanted to make a compilation of my works, but school and career-related obligations (internships, clubs, the usual) compelled me to put it on the back burner. However, I didn’t realize before that the poetry project is not only something I enjoy, but it also presents an opportunity in and of itself. The endeavor would exhibit my initiative to potential employers, would potentially enable me to learn and network with people in the fields I am interested in (publishing and marketing) and provide a much-needed break from the hustle of structured academia. These are just a few of the benefits of such a passion project. 

Close-up of annotations inside the poetry book Self Portrait In A Convex Mirror
Original photo by Kylee Kropf

And, if that doesn’t convince you, more and more traditional employers are looking for a “Projects” section on your resume. Career coach Tara Goodfellow told Muse that adding projects to your resume “can be a great way to highlight experience outside of your daily role, enhance a recent grad resume, or bridge the gap from what you’re doing to what you want to do.” This is especially true for college students who have not yet established a traditional career and are still looking to explore. 

So, if you’re feeling stressed that you don’t have a packed schedule or an internship set in stone, it may be your sign to spend this summer doing something you enjoy.

Kylee is a fourth-year at UCLA double-majoring in Communication and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her poems have been published in Train River Poetry, The Mandarin, Open Ceilings, and our very own Westwind (among others). She also writes feature articles for Her Campus at UCLA. In her free time, she acts, drinks way too much coffee, romanticizes everything, and buys more books than she can keep up with.