by Jenna Ranney, Product Specialist
School is officially out for the summer, which definitely feels like the first deep breath after running a marathon. Another semester of reading, writing, studying, and working is in the books, and we’re all ready for a break. But just about as soon as the school year ends - actually, usually before finals are even done - we’re expected to be planning out our next steps. Gone are the days when summer vacation meant an actual vacation. For students finishing up high school or those in college, summer means a few free months to fill with research, internships, work experience, summer classes, job shadowing, or any number of other things intended to boost our resume and help us be successful in our careers.
With a global pandemic that is only now beginning to ease, finding these jobs and internships has been especially challenging this year. If your summer internship got cancelled, or your research lab is closed, or you’re looking ahead at a summer with a minimum wage job that has nothing to do with your major, it’s easy to feel like you’re wasting valuable time … but you’re not! There can be a lot of pressure to make the most of our summers off, but I think it’s time to reframe what that means. Any experience, no matter how small or seemingly trivial, is helping you build your experience - you just need to learn to see the bigger picture!
Working: Any work experience - whether you’re interning for Google or bagging groceries - is shaping your employee profile. At the very least, you are practicing the commitment and discipline needed to earn money for yourself! Any job experience requires you to build your time management skills, communicate effectively with coworkers and superiors, and find a work-life balance that works for you!
Traveling: Whether it’s your family vacation to the beach or a trip to visit a relative in a neighboring state, traveling is actually one of the best things you can do as a college student. It may feel like purely fun, but in reality you’re becoming more accustomed to different parts of the world (or even just different parts of your state or region). Come graduation when you start looking at employment opportunities to launch your career, you’ll have at least some background of areas you liked, features that you might look for in your future home, and what it means to navigate an entirely new space.
Free Time: Having extra time to yourself during the summer is not the worst thing, though the pressure to do something “productive” may make it seem so. Use your extra time to discover new passions, develop new hobbies, try new things, and learn - not in an academic setting, but simply learning for the sake of understanding yourself and your world a bit better.
No matter how you end up spending your summer, make sure you at least build in enough time to enjoy it. We’ve all worked hard for the past few months, and incorporating adequate rest is key to keeping up that work ethic in the fall!