NOW is the time to think about what you are doing this summer. For Sophomores and Juniors, and maybe even commendably ambitious Freshmen, now is the time to start planning. Whether it’s finding a job, setting up an internship, signing up for study programs at home or abroad, or a family vacation, get started now. Deadlines are approaching for limited participation programs and they get booked quickly. While this may be obvious to some, it was not for me. It wasn’t until spring of last year that I realized everyone had some sort of job or internship…and I didn’t. These plans could have been spurred by the necessity for a job or their belief that an internship will buff up their college apps (which, let’s be honest, it will), but either way, I felt completely blindsided by their preparation. Luckily, this angst that ensued from my friends’ preparation prompted me to find myself a job right before school ended. However, I wished I had been more proactive in organizing my summer plans.
Now, it is that time of year again, and this time I know what to expect. This article is not meant to scare anyone into thinking they have to be getting internships and jobs already, or at all, but it is my simple advice that you start thinking about your plans now. I don’t necessarily know what I want to do this summer, but experiencing jobs or internships can certainly help you start to pin-point what you like and don’t like and your abilities both intellectually and personally.
This past summer, I worked at Satura Cakes in downtown Los Altos as a coffee barista. While this was not necessarily an intellectual job, I learned a lot about dealing with demanding customers and sassy co-workers, and now I have the “street cred” that comes along with being a barista!
Internships and jobs can benefit you in a variety of ways. They provide you with a real world experience that you can’t get by simply going to class, and through this they can help you prepare for your future. If you are interested in medicine, see if you can get an internship or participate in a research study at a local hospital. Send emails and put yourself out there. Gaining the confidence to do so, and creating connections on the way, will no doubt be valuable resources later on.
No matter what you end up doing this summer, the more time you have to plan, the better your experience will be. Google is at your disposal, so use it! Search for internship programs in the Bay area, look into taking classes online or at Foothill to get ahead, research enrichment camps, and talk to older siblings or friends about things they may have participated in. I have noticed that many of the opportunities I am interested in pursuing this summer have deadlines that are rapidly approaching (this month even) and that is one of the reasons I feel it is important to start thinking about what you would like to do. The hardest part is starting, so start thinking about what you would like to do now, if anything, this summer. Take initiative and blow your friends and family out of the water when they hear you have gotten a fabulous internship all by yourself before summer even begins.