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What To Do if You Didn’t Land a Summer Internship

As spring quarter comes to an end and summer vacation is upon us, you may be wondering what the heck you’re going to spend the next four months doing. For a lot of people at UW, the answer is obvious: they’ve applied and landed a summer internship. In a city like Seattle with big names in tech, health, and business, it might seem easy to get an internship. The sad reality is, however, that getting that summer internship you want is a lot harder than it seems, especially after spending an entire year taking classes from your bedroom. After this difficult year stuck in a literal global health emergency, no one blames you for not having any plans for the summer. 


Before you panic, don’t worry! We’re here to help. If you’ve found yourself unable to land any of the internships you applied for (or didn’t apply to any at all), here’s a list of just some of the productive things you can be doing this summer:



One of the best ways you can give back to your community is to volunteer. I think this whole COVID fiasco has definitely showed us the power of empathy, gratitude, and support. If you’re looking to spend your summer in a positive setting and don’t mind giving your time for a good cause with nothing in return, consider volunteering at your local food bank, homeless shelter, or hospital. Most community-based organizations have volunteer opportunities available on their websites, including the ones around UW and Seattle. It can also show your commitment to fostering community to employers!

Find a Passion Project

If you’re looking for something to do with less structure and on a more flexible schedule, consider starting your own passion project. You project can be anything you’re interested in; maybe you’ll start your own Etsy jewelry business, compose your own album, or create an entire art portfolio about your experience living in a pandemic. Whatever it is, be sure you’re working toward a goal and have something to show for it at the end of the summer.

Take Summer Quarter

Of course, UW also has the option of registering for summer quarter classes anytime before July 11th. Most introductory courses are available to take in the summer, with even some new, fun, summer-exclusive classes mixed in every year (i.e. I’m taking a class on witches this summer!). You can also take a summer intensive version of an entire series, and have it knocked off of your prerequisites before you even start the school year. Even if you’re not a fan of taking classes for the entirety of your summer, you can just take the A or B term and have your quarter cut in half! Plus, taking classes at your local community college is always an option, especially if you need some difficult weed-outs for your major.

Get a Summer Job

Even if you didn’t land that interview at the internship you really wanted, getting a simpler, unrelated summer job can be really worth it. For example, just working at your local grocery store, Starbucks, or at the mall can be worthwhile. Not only will you still have some job experience to add to your resume, but these customer-facing jobs can help you build the soft skills you’ll need in your industry someday, like people skills, customer service, and flexibility. 

Of course, another viable option for summer vacation is just to take a nice, relaxing break. After spending an entire year battling Zoom University and trying to stay afloat during a pandemic, you’re allowed to treat yourself to a fun vacation. Go on some hikes, play your favorite video game, and maybe even travel a little (safely!); you deserve it!

Shima is a junior at UW currently residing in Mukilteo, WA. She is majoring in Microbiology and hopes to someday become a physician. She enjoys baking bread, watching Teen Wolf, and practicing Taekwondo in her free time.
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