Hello fellow beavers and welcome to spring term! Though the weather may seem no different than winter, trust me, once things to start to warm up, spring in Corvallis is great. All the big events happen in the spring, and maybe it’s just me, but I think the sun puts people in happier moods. That being said there’s something else we college students have to consider this time of the year, what to do with summer vacation. Now that we are “grown-ups” we are expected to be slightly more productive than those lazy summer days in high school, but it can be hard to know where to start mapping out a worth while yet still enjoyable summer. As a senior, I have three years of summer experience though to share with you!
One great opportunity that all college students should take advantage of at least once is a summer internship. A summer internship allows you to spend an extended period of time gaining experience in your field while not having to worry about homework and classes. Depending on the amount of time you are willing to commit, internships can be full or part-time. Both are without a doubt beneficial, however I recommend a full time experience so that you can get a true sense of what a career in your field will feel like. Another appealing aspect of internships is that some are paid; you can gain experience and little extra spending money! I encourage you to pursue an internship even if it is unpaid, as was the case with mine. The networking and experience will be worth it in the long run. Most importantly though, internships add real world experience to your resume so that you can show future employers that you have experience doing what they would need you to do.
Finding internship opportunities can be a challenge. A good strategy is to simply research the type of company/business you would love to one-day work for and see if they offer internships. If they don’t, approach them about creating one. This shows initiative, and few people will turn down free help, that’s the tactic I used to create my internship. If you’re at a loss as to where to work or can’t find anything appealing I suggest simply being aware of opportunities advertised on campus. There are signs posted on every bulletin board for different groups and opportunities, and inevitably as summer approaches they begin to recruit for summer internships. KidSpirit for instance is a program through OSU that allows interns to spend all day outside working with kids and getting paid. Make sure that you check with your major advising office as well as career services, they often have employers contact them looking for undergraduate interns.
As wonderful as internships sound they aren’t always an option. You may find yourself in the same situation I did two years ago with a bank account so low that you can’t afford to be picky about getting career-related experience. While this may not be ideal, all experience is good experience in my opinion, and whether or not they work in your field any boss can give you a recommendation in the future, so be sure to make a good impression. Jobs that you wouldn’t have looked for as a career can also open your mind up to ideas and people you wouldn’t have normally encountered. Personally, working as a maid in a 5-Star hotel one summer exposed me to new levels of both wealth and poverty, knowledge that I will be able to apply to my future career as a teacher.
However your summer ends up looking, make sure to enjoy the time you have to relax, bask in the sunshine and catch-up with friends and family you may not get to see during the school year. And remember, any experience can be worthwhile.