Students: How Should You Spend Your Summer?

by Kasey Woo

Feeling stuck? Scared that you have no plans for the summertime, and feeling pressured after hearing all of your friend’s amazing plans of internships or research for summer? Whether you want to advance in your career or decompress after a long hard semester or quarter, we’re going to help you weigh your options.

Job

Used up all of your money at your part-time job for rent or for food? Short on funds for date night or a Boys/Girls Night Out? A summer job will help you increase your disposable income, save more, or cover part of the tuition and avoid getting into student debt the next semester.

If you are looking to build quick cash over the summer, getting a summer job is the best option for you. 

There are a variety of jobs available such as barista, restaurant worker, delivery driver, etc.  But a summer job provides a unique opportunity to showcase and develop a variety of useful business skills, ranging from sales, and customer satisfaction.

Especially since college is very heavy on the wallet, getting a job during the summertime can ease the burden of college expenses. (Or save for adventures during spring break.) The money you earned from the job might come in handy for a beach vacay. 

It might not be as easy as you think to get a short-term job, however. Nav.it writer and grad student Jasmine Powell, explains “One pitfall of a summer job is employers may not want to hire you for just the summer.”

But all is not lost. She goes on to explain, “You can try to apply for positions on campus. You’ll need to weigh whether or not earning more during the summer eats up your profit if you are having to spend money on an apartment or housing while you work away from home. ”

Keep your goals in mind

Whatever your reason may be, it is important to establish rules of the road when applying for jobs. Set expectations for yourself. Do you want to work in the food industry or do you want to practice sales at a local store? Is salary and money very important to you or is it gaining valuable skills such as customer interaction? Or do you not have a preference? 

Consider work life satisfaction during your summer job

Think outside of the box. Your summer work isn’t limited to flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Try credible sources such as LinkedIn or Indeed to land a position that might look good on your resume later.

If you value gaining experience over making money, internships are definitely the way to go. 

Internships

Probably one of the most common and popular options out there. Students often use the summertime to gain professional experience. Since most entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree, students instead seek summertime internships as a reliable alternative to gaining experience. 

Because of the extra time available without the strenuous course load of college work, students oftentimes sign up for full-time internships that are about 30-40 hours or more per week type of commitment. 

According to Christan Robinson, Talent and Culture Manager at Funnel, “Internships are essential for high potential students.”

She goes on to explain, “Top organizations are looking for entry level employees that have demonstrated success in their respective field. Those employees are often fast tracked to senior level positions and viewed as future leaders within the organization.”

This option is popular because students can get a good taste of industries or career options that they might be interested in post-graduation, without the pressure of full-time recruitment.

What should you consider with your internship?

But exactly what should you consider when applying for an internship? Are you interested in working at a big public company such as Google? Or a fast-paced start-up like Nav.it

Aside from the immediate benefits such as gaining soft skills or money, examine the company’s culture: Are the people that you were interviewed with potentially people you would enjoy working with? If the recruiter isn’t your supervisor, try to meet with the person who will be. Examine the industry, but more importantly, how the company presents itself to the public. Also, consider the company mission. If the company sells beef but you’re a vegan, would you be invested in your work ?

After getting a little introspective and finding your motivations and factors to consider when applying for a summer internship, where are the best places to find an internship? You could look on popular job recruiting platforms such as LinkedIn or Handshake. Or you could check your university job posting listing and see opportunities there. Reach out to your network and take advantage of one of your connections such as family or friends connecting you to an opportunity. 

Also, internships are one of the best methods to develop networking skills and connect with professionals and experts as references if you intend to apply for a full-time position at the company you interned in. 

College Classes

If you are looking to advance and graduate early from college, taking college classes is the route to go. With the added bonus of reduced class sizes, you’ll get a feel for a quieter campus and more attention during your coursework. 

In fact, if some of the regular graduation requirements are offered in community college, you could take courses at community college that would be easier on your pocket. 

Decompress

This is summer. There is nothing wrong with decompressing and taking a break. You had a long, stressful school year, so you definitely deserved taking a break from the stress from school. Hang out with friends, travel to a new place, or try new hobbies. You should not feel guilty for utilizing the summertime to relax and take a breather from school. 

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