The perfect internship is revered as the epitome of college success. All your friends seem to have their dream internships, and when people ask what internship you're doing this summer, you can only wince. It's not like you didn't scour the Internet and message boards for postings, copiously write and rewrite résumés and cover letters, and then juggle interviews with your busy class schedule. And...nada.
If you're feeling down on yourself, don't. Not having an internship has not doomed you to a lifetime of unemployment, nor does it mean you are inadequate. Internships are a good way to get job experience. That's it. They are by no means the only way to spend your college summer.
Now that your Plan A didn't come through, it's time to move to Plan B. Here are some suggestions if you don't have an internship lined up this summer:
1. Get a Job
For some reason, a lot of people look down on this option. Why? It's a great way to make money, and for all of you who are concerned about your résumé, you're getting actual work experience.
Consider working at a local coffee shop, a kids' summer camp, or your favorite clothing store. For the most part, it's a lot less stressful (read: less mentally demanding) than school or an internship, and you'll have more flexibility and free time. This is also a great way to meet people if you don't have many friends from college around you.
2. Take a Class
You might be thinking, "Why would I do this to myself? I just finished a brutal semester." Well, if cost isn't an issue, you should take a class because:
- You have time. If you're not doing an internship or a job, you definitely have time. It's only a few hours a week to take a class.
- Taking one class is so much easier than taking the four or five you do in college.
- You can take a class you wouldn't otherwise have time for during your four years!
Maybe it's something fun like Photography, or something that looks great on a résumé, like Intro to Accounting, but you can find almost anything online or at a local community college.
3. Enjoy Your Summer
While I would be wary of encouraging anyone to do nothing all summer, it's important to remember that these are some of your last free summers. Don't try to cram them completely full with work or studying, because you'll be working full-time soon enough.
Go hiking with your friends, have a special date night with your S.O., take a road trip, sleep in, do whatever's on your bucket list. Even though there is a culture of obsession over internships and perfect résumés and work experience, you don't have to be part of it. Embrace the freedom and enjoy your summer!
What Do You Think?
What are you guys doing this summer? Have any non-internship ideas for this summer? Are you going to be doing any of the above? Let us know in the comments!