No Internship? No Problem!

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Finals are over.  You’re ready to go home for the summer and enjoy a well-deserved break. You might be enrolled in summer classes (in that case, good luck), but most college students go home for the summer. But after a week or two of catching up with old friends and family, visiting nostalgic parts of your hometown, and Netflixing all day just because you can, you start to wonder: How am I going to make this summer productive?

You may think that the obvious answer is some sort of summer job or internship, which can be really helpful for your future career or just a way to earn some extra cash.  But don’t you have to start planning in March or something to get a good one?  You probably remember one or two friends  who were applying for internships during midterms while you were thinking, “I have so much time left, so no worries . . .” Well, now summer is here.  Internships can be competitive at the undergrad level since most relevant internships require more than a bachelor’s.  Furthermore, if you’ve already procrastinated this much, your shots are slim to none.

However, not all hope is lost!  It does help to plan ahead, but that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a completely unproductive summer.

Start Looking Now!

Just because it’s possible to get a late start doesn’t mean that you want to wait forever.  Internships are probably already filled, so you’re better off looking for a job. College tends to get out before high school, so if you’re seeking a traditional summer job (such as waitressing, lifeguarding, or landscaping) to save some money, make sure you find and apply for those jobs before the high school kids.  Also, you only have a couple of weeks to even work this job, so there’s no time to waste.

Make sure you utilize all the tools at your disposal, including online job postings and scanning the town for signs — but you want to mostly rely on connections.  It’s no surprise to anyone that it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Your biggest disadvantage is that you’re probably only looking for summer work, and employers usually don’t want to waste resources training someone who is going to leave anyway.  You’ll be best off targeting jobs that dwindle come fall, like summer tourism jobs, all-day babysitting gigs, or landscaping.

Apply with Consideration

Additionally, you probably know to tailor your resume to every job, but many people completely forget a cover letter.  A cover letter can show that you really put in the extra effort to get to know the company, not to mention that you can form a coherent sentence.  That’ll be an employer’s first impression of you, so make sure that it is on point.  

Even if you have an “in” with some connections, apply anyway.  Doing so shows that you take it seriously and that you are qualified to do the job.  This might not apply if it’s an extremely informal setting, but keep this mind when pursuing jobs through the people you know.  Generally, the farther removed the employer is from you, the more likely you’ll need to submit a formal resume.  You’ll appear much more competent and professional.

Put in the Effort

It can be tempting to check out as the months wear on, especially if this isn’t exactly your dream job.  However, keep in mind that if you do well, you can reapply each year and use this as a potential recurring summer employment or even a first full-time job to help you get on your feet once you graduate.  Having consistent employment, even if it is broken up by periods of school, will show later employers that you were the type of employee to get rehired multiple times.  

Try to focus less on the fact that you’re working and more on the perks that the position gives you.  Working outside lets you enjoy the sun’s rays, waitressing means making a lot of connections, and retail can offer you some great discounts!  School will start up again soon, and you’ll wish that you were back in your summer job in no time.

What if You Can’t Find a Job?

This is a depressing reality for a lot of college students.  Even graduates are having a tough time finding jobs, let alone those still attending.  If you don’t have a diploma yet, it can make it difficult to get a more prestigious job, but minimum-wage jobs might go to high school kids before you.  If you’re stuck in a weird stage of unemployment, but need to save for next year, it’s still not hopeless.

The gig economy has been growing in recent years, and there’s no reason you can’t get in on that too.  Freelance writers, theater techies, musicians, coders, dog walkers . . . You can profit from your efforts during your preferred hours, working whatever jobs you pick.  There is an increased personal responsibility here, but the flexibility is a major perk.  Plus, it can still signal to future employers that you’re not afraid to carve out your own path.  Freelancing requires keeping track of invoices, client needs, and even your taxes.  These are great business skills regardless of your major or future job.

Summer jobs can be grueling, but they add experience to your resume and stop you from becoming an unproductive blob.  There’s nothing wrong with a little vacation, but you can have fun and be productive at the same time (though you may have to cancel your Netflix subscription for that to be truly possible).  Whether your summer jobs help with your career or just get you through to next year, it can be an extremely valuable experience.  

Pros and Cons of Spending the Summer Abroad

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study-abroad

Finals are almost done, dorm rooms are almost packed, and everyone is talking about their summer plans. Fortunately, it is not too late to jump on a time-honored tradition among many college students: spending the summer abroad. With so many destinations and types of trips, students have nearly endless possibilities! But before you book your plane tickets, take into account these three pros and cons of spending the summer abroad.

3 Pros

1.   Make the Most out of Your Summer

For many, summer vacation is a perfect time to sit back, relax, and spend days outside of the stressful classroom. For others, this kind of vacation can be boring and repetitive. Electing to spend it overseas in a study abroad program is a much more appealing option for those with an adventurous side who want to make each moment of free time count. From backpacking through Europe, to volunteering in South America, or taking summer courses in Asia, there are plenty of options that can enhance a résumé and provide an exciting schedule for students.

2.   Vacation Cheaply

Studying abroad during the school year can have mixed impact on your wallet. Some programs cost the same as if you stayed on campus, while others with hidden fees and activity costs make you feel like you’re paying a second tuition. For increased savings, elect to stay in a hostel, use your student ID to get discounts on transportation and sightseeing, and visit countries with low costs of living. You’ll get the same experience as someone who does an educational experience during the school year at half the cost.

3.   Shorter Study Abroad Experience

While some students have passports that are filled to the brim with experiences, others may just be getting their airline wings for the first time. If you are concerned about being prone to homesickness, choosing to travel in the summer limits the time you are away from the ones you love.

3 Cons

1.   Miss out on Summer Opportunities

That internship is not going to be around if you decide to travel independently. The same goes with a temporary job or the summer course you have been dying to take. Make the right choice for where you are in your life. If you can afford to miss an academic or job experience, then do so.

2.   Overall Expense

While you can travel relatively cheaply, international travel will still cost you at least several grand depending on your destination. Saving up for airline tickets, hotel and hostel costs, food expenses, and general travel will also take you time—a luxury you may not have if you are saving your pennies to pay tuition. In addition, you will have to be sure to have extra money in your savings account for travel emergencies that are hard to predict.

3.   Less Adaptation Time

Summer travel overseas may remind you of vacationing with your parents when you were younger. There just isn’t enough time to see and do everything on your list! While students who study abroad during the school year have an adjustment period and the ability to travel leisurely, a summer provides you with only a handful of weeks to get the entire experience.

Making the decision to venture abroad is a huge one. It may change your life and open up new doors. But even with all the positives, there are the downsides, such as the expense and limited time table. Your decision to travel may not be an easy one to make, but it is worth the lifetime of memories once you have.

Did you study abroad during college? If so, was it during the summer or for a semester? What would you recommend for students looking to travel?

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Seasonal Clothes

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March, 20 2014…First day of spring

It’s that time of year to pack away cold weather clothes for our warm weather ones. Summer is around the corner!

Over the past weekend I found myself in my son’s room going through his closet and dresser. It’s amazing the amount of clothes a one year old has let alone doesn’t fit into anymore. As I start going through his closet, I’m thinking about how big he’s getting and how I’m going to store all these clothes. Luckily for me I did some research.

 HGTV.com has a great article on storing your seasonal clothes. They talk about choosing the right hangers, storage bins, and things to avoid like cardboard that attracts insects. No thank you!

As an employee at On Campus Marketing, I know we sell lots of Storage Bins and Rhino Trunks. Both are perfect for storing clothes that one day can be worn again.

storagebins

Whether it’s your child’s closet or your own closet, these helpful tips will go a long way.  So it’s bye for now winter coat, hat and gloves; we’ll see you in 8 months!

Ethan-Winter