Hannah C: 10 Things We Learned From Legally Blonde

Several of our COM Ambassadors (looking at you, Christy, Hali, Ethan, Megan and Hanna) and I have worked for the past few months on a show called, Legally Blonde The Musical, which is based on the movie plus a slew of ten minute dance numbers and a bit more character development.

It’s funny, clever, and just a great time to perform.  Like the movie, the musical portrays themes of empowerment and perseverance, friendship and loyalty.  The musical might come across as a girly show, but it’s so much more than that. And if you look closely, there’s a lot to be learned from the story.

1. Friends can be found in the most unexpected places — even the hair salon.

2.  Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. 

3.  Stand your ground and don’t let people take advantage of you.

4.  When in doubt, dance it out. 

5. With determination, you can accomplish anything. Even if others tell you, you can’t. 

6. It might take a little patience and resilience, but things will get better. 

7. “Tattered books get left on the shelves.” Always dress for success.

8. We girls need to stick together…

9.  There’s no greater feeling than winning your case. Or proving the haters wrong.

10. Elle said it best 

See you on April 8 for Open House, the best day of the year!!!

Hannah: 11 Ways to Be a Better College Student in the New Semester

The New Year is all about resolutions.  It’s out with the old and in with the new you.  But if you’re like me, you know not to set unreachable goals.  You need to keep your expectations somewhat close to reality, so that you don’t get too discouraged and completely abandon your new and improved habits.  This is why I like to keep it vague.  If you set the goal, “Be a better person,” you could technically accredit all the little random acts of kindness you do as sticking to your resolutions.  Which is much easier than pledging to exercise or complete a long-term project.

I also like to keep this New York Times article in my back pocket as a reference to keep me on track to Be A Better Person in the New Year.  And with the spring semester off to a fresh start at BU, I decided it’s not a bad idea to apply these life guidelines to college as well.  Inspired by the NYT piece, here’s 11 Ways to Be a Better College Student in the New Semester.

  1. NYT says:  Live Like Bill

I say:  Live Like Howard Thurman

While I agree that the late fashion photog Bill Cunningham had the right idea about life (if you haven’t seen the documentary about him, go do that now!), I like to live by Howard Thurman’s words.  Thurman, a civil rights leader, former STH professor and former dean of Marsh Chapel said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

  1. NYT says: You Are What You Wear

I say: You Test How You Dress

Whenever I take tests in sweats, I struggle to keep my eyes open.  It feels like I’m wearing PJs to the exam.  I don’t have scientific evidence to back this up, but it’s my firm belief that to feel confident to do well on an exam, you should dress for success.

  1. NYT says: Ask Your Betrothed the Big Questions

I say: Ask Your Professor the Small Questions

There are no dumb questions.  If you don’t want to raise your hand in the middle of class to ask your professor a question, stop by his or her office hours.  If you don’t understand something, there’s no shame in getting some clarification.

  1. NYT says: Start a Bromosexual Relationship

I say:  Get to Know Someone Different From You

The article says some of the best friendships are with people who have different romantic preferences from you.  And I think at BU, it’s pretty easy to stick to hanging out with the same exact people—the ones in your major, on your team, in your sorority.  If you make the effort to break out of your bubble a little, you could end up with some seriously interesting friendships.

  1. NYT says: Try Tinder for Love

I say:  Try Tinder for Fun

People are getting really creative with social networks and even dating apps to bring people together.  Apparently, Tinder can now be used to find people to hang out in groups.  My friend needed subs on his co-ed intramural soccer team to fill in, so he put out a request on Tinder for a couple of girls to join the game.  I’ll check back on how that worked out for him.

  1. NYT says: Get Rid of Stuff

I say: Get Rid of Old Stuff in Your Backpack

You’ve had that in there for how long? Over the course of last semester, my tote bag collected a heap of gum wrappers, receipts, pennies, and chapsticks.  Clean out your school bag to start off a new semester feeling organized.

  1. NYT says: Seat the Bores Together

I say:  Pick Somewhere New to Sit

I don’t know how often the average college student hosts a large dinner party, but most of us stick to the same dining halls or the same table in the GSU, even the same seats in class. Try out a new row—maybe the change in scenery will keep your interest up or introduce you to a new study partner.

  1. NYT says: Pay Attention

I say: Pay Attention

Yeah. I think they got this one right. I know I need to stop adding to my online shopping bag, and instead pay attention in class; stop trying to text while I walk, and rather take note of what’s around me.  Life moves fast and I don’t want to miss it.

  1. NYT says: Iron Your Clothes

I say:  Wear Gym Clothes to Class

I don’t even own an iron.  But, I do own some athleisure clothes, and I find that if I wear them to class—particularly my classes near FitRec—I’m more likely to stop by for a HIIT session instead of heading straight home, never to make it back to the gym that day.  Wear training shoes and leggings to class, and you’ll have no excuse not to work out after.

  1. NYT says: Send That Condolence Note

I say: And All Other Kinds of Notes

Condolence notes are hard to send.  But you know what’s not?  A ripped-out notebook page note to your pal sitting next to you to make him laugh during lecture.  Or a Boston postcard for your mom to let her know you’re thinking of her.  Or a thank-you card to your professor to show your gratitude for the letter of recommendation he wrote.  Or a note to your roommate to say, “Hey I just ran out to buy eggs, be back soon!” I just love notes.

  1. NYT says: Spoon More

I say:  Croon More

Not all of us have someone to cuddle with, and that’s okay.  But anyone can turn up the Spotify volume and sing along.  Again, no scientific evidence from me that this works, but I think crooning to your favorite John Mayer song or learning all the words to “No Problem” makes singing an instant mood booster.

It’s ok if you can’t stick to all of these, though. Just BU.

Hannah: Social Media Realizations

I’m in a love-hate relationship with social media.  This year marked my sixth anniversary with Facebook, and I’ve had Twitter and Instagram for almost as long.  These years have proven to me that social media can be all-at-once incredibly amusing, undeniably powerful, and frustratingly deceptive.

I think that if 2016 is the year of realizing stuff, then 2017 will be the year of posting more and better managing my social tools. I’ve realized a lot about social media, and one realization is that I don’t use it nearly enough. I have my reasons, listed below. Here are my realizations about the joys and pitfalls of being a social media user.

There’s so much I love about social media.

  1. Connecting people from all over the world. Adopted children have used Facebook to locate their birth parents. And we can all stay in touch with each other, even if we move or change phone numbers.
  2. New art forms. Is it just me? Or has Instagram ignited the photog and picture editor in you?  Insta allows users to turn everyday moments into a photo blog to create and admire.
  3. Glimpses into celeb lives.  When I was eight I remember thinking, “I wonder what Hilary Duff is doing. Right. Now.” With Snapchat stories, I can see what Hil is up to at any point in the day, as long as she’s posting.
  4. Memes. Twitter sparked the proliferation of memes. And I just love memes.
  5. Social media management.  Companies are hiring coordinators to manage their social media accounts, which is not only a really important task for brand management but also a chance to get creative.
  6. Branding.  Speaking of the importance of social media, it’s a way for people and companies to expose their brands just by gaining followers or buying ad space.  Social tools have become the most effective way to reach audiences.

But there are also parts of social media that…well…

  1. Rules. You can’t post more than one Insta in a day.  It’s best to post on Instagram at 12pm or 8pm. Says who? They might seem constricting, but most people, including myself, tend to follow these unspoken rules.
  2. Doing it for the Insta.  What came first – the picture or what’s in it?  I think we shouldn’t make life decisions based on what we can turn into an Instagram post or what will get us the most likes.
  3. If you didn’t post a pic of it, did you even do it? Um. Yes. If this were true, than I haven’t done anything in months. I like to live by this mantra: “The best parts of my life haven’t made it to social media.”
  4. Trying to get a good like ratio.  It’s so hard not to watch the number of likes on a photo rise relative to the number of minutes it’s been live.  Resist it, people! If we like the pic we posted, isn’t that enough? Sometimes I wish I could disable the likes on my Instas.
  5. Slackers’ guilt.  Maybe I’m more private than others, but I don’t Instagram or Tweet very often.  And then I feel so guilty about it! I barely posted during my time abroad, and that was because I was too focused on enjoying traveling, but I sometimes look back and wished I shared more of my best pics.

I think a lot of people would agree with me about the positive aspects of social media and the nonsense downsides to it.  Some people would probably say I’m complicating things.  But I think it’s important to be critical of these platforms as they grow and increasingly shape society.  In my own social bubble, I’ll continue to use them with caution.  And I might also make 2017 the year of sharing more stuff.

Hannah: The Truth About Teamwork

I laughed so hard when I first saw this on Twitter.  I could definitely relate – it’s stressful to rely on group members for their parts of the project and even more difficult to cooperate with different work styles.  But group projects are just part of college.  And teamwork is just part of life.  No matter what career aspirations you have, working in teams is inevitable.  Here’s the truth about teamwork—it becomes extraordinarily simple with this one hack: the Myers-Brigg personalities.

Learning the intricacies of Myers-Brigg personality combinations introduced me to new pathways to harmony within groups.  Since a freshman year seminar in which we examined how different personality types respond to situations, I’ve approached new projects with a stronger sense of alternative thought processes and diverse methods.  Even if my approach to answering a question or solving a problem seems completely reasonable, my teammate might prefer to tackle it from a different angle.  Realizing the variety of preferences in a group has helped me to be a better team player and in turn, has produced better work.

Do yourself a favor—take the personality test. Read about your own personality type and what it implies about your work preferences.  Then learn about the other types. You will start to notice the reasons behind people’s decisions, and you’ll understand their techniques.  The test indicates how people prefer to interact, process the world around us, make decisions and carry out plans. Each of these four aspects is assigned a letter, and based on how you test, you are assigned a four-letter personality type.

My personal favorite personality test combines Myers-Brigg with new insight. It’s called 16 Personalities, and it offers a quick and accurate way to discover your type.  The test revealed to me I am a Campaigner personality, an ENFP.  I’m an extroverted, intuitive, feeling perceiver.  Want to know what all this means? Visit the site! Your group project members will thank you.

(I’m not a brand ambassador for this site. I just think it’s really cool.)

Hannah: The LinkedIn Self-Stalk

In COM we do two things: 1) We tell stories, and 2) We gain as much experience as possible so that after graduation we can get hired to tell stories.

The sum of those experiences usually tells a story itself; there’s a narrative aspect of our resumes. Once in a while, I stay up late, my laptop screen the only source of light in my room, reading LinkedIn profiles as bedtime stories. I search CEOs and industry leaders to see how their previous positions equal current top spots. And in past years, I’ve peeked at the profiles of upperclassmen, trying to read how their undergraduate endeavors led them from one position to the next.

Now that I’m a senior, I’ve seen three lightning-fast years fly, and I wonder, What even have I done?  A quick scroll down my own LinkedIn profile answers my question. Oh. Yeah. That’s what. Three years of volunteering, studying, interning, teaching, mentoring, and butt-busting laid out on a web page remind me exactly how those years flew.

Last summer, the story my resume told did not impress employers as I thought it would. I applied for countless summer internships when I was in London, and I only heard back from one, informing me I, unfortunately, was not one of the 150 chosen from 13,000 applicants. Odds were not in my favor.  Eventually, I took a job teaching English to first-time US visitors from China, and I loved it.     

It’s up to me now to connect my varied work experiences so I can tell my story.  This is where a thorough resume read-through or perhaps a cheeky LinkedIn self-stalk helps.  It’s a good idea to look at your LinkedIn as a bit of an autobiography.  All your experiences can be linked together if you view them as parts of your bigger narrative.  Telling your personal tale is easiest when you identify how past experiences shaped the potential employee you are.  How coursework, networking, landing the right job, maybe even landing the wrong job has made you knowledgeable, connected, able, resilient. 

I can’t deny that even though my summer job was not the internship I originally envisioned, the teaching position made me more culturally aware, completely comfortable leading lectures, and better prepared to bounce back from rejection. The narrative of my undergraduate years is dynamic, unconventional and diverse. Telling my story will be important as I apply to post-graduate opportunities to work, volunteer and travel.

If you’re like me, in the middle of the application process, remember to practice your interview questions and dress for success.  And, most important to your personal story, don’t forget your LinkedIn Self-Stalk. P.S. You can do anything good.

Hannah: When (Abroad) Life Imitates Art

Here it is — my Abroad Com Blog. I always knew I would end up writing one, but I wasn’t sure when or from where. Now, it’s spring of my junior year and I’m blogging in (drum roll, please) London!

It’s day one of my internship, and I’m surrounded by movie posters. At Umedia, where I work as a legal intern, framed posters decorate an exposed brick wall, opposite the large arched windows that let sunlight flood the bright white workspace.  I’m the newest addition to a team of five here in the London branch of Umedia. Based in Brussels and with offices in London, Paris and LA, Umedia finances and produces films through its own fund.  Film production comes with a number of legal and business transactions, so as an assistant to the head of legal affairs, I’ll get my feet wet in media law and the entertainment industry here. (I’m so excited about it!!)

Although it’s the first day at Umedia, I’m at the start of week six in London, and I’m in no way ready to leave. Living in London has been everything I imagined: tuning my ears to charming accents, learning about British history while at historical sites, crossing streets with extra caution (they drive on the left?), being aware of my Americanness everywhere I go. Also, socializing in pubs almost every night, honing my professional skills daily, and friending BU students I never would have met.

It’s been a whirlwind in the best way.  It’s also been lots of quick flights on the weekend to parts of the world I never thought I’d see. Convinced I’d study abroad in Ecuador for the Latin American studies program, I figured I’d have to stick to watching movies to learn about European countries. For me, watching foreign films or movies featuring Americans abroad has been the closest thing to actually travelling overseas.  Great way to visit a place on a budget — until now.  Once I chose to study British culture and law in London, I placed myself in prime real estate for accessing other cities. So far, I’ve seen Copenhagen, Paris, Florence and Rome.

As Princess Anne in Roman Holiday says: each city, in its own way, was unforgettable.  And as I spoke with locals, ate traditional food and soaked up as much culture as I could, I would compare everything to what I’d seen on the Big Screen. I couldn’t help it! My passion for entertainment has apparently travelled abroad with me.  But I think it’s something we all do. ‘It’s just like in the movies’ has crossed all our minds at some point in life. When your first encounter with a place is through a film, it’s impossible not to seek out that same experience once you’re really there.  And so life imitates art.

Before flying out to these cities, my only references to them were from cinema.  When I arrived in London, I immediately thought of Love Actually, in which intertwining storylines take the audience to landmark locations across the city.  In Copenhagen, I looked out onto the waterfront and thought of Ariel, from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the childhood movie that first introduced me to the landscape of Denmark. At Versailles, I geeked out over the chateau, not only for the history of its royal residents, but also because it was just how I’d seen it in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.  My roommate and travel pal, Kelsey, quoted Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs as we sipped on Chianti, Hannibal’s drink of choice, at a vineyard in Tuscany.

The comparisons didn’t stop there.  Since I come from an Italian family, Italy was my number one destination.  But as the site of two movies crucial to my childhood, Rome in particular was about more than connecting with my ancestry.  Rome was about fulfilling my dream to be Lizzie McGuire and having a holiday like Princess Anne’s. I wish I could put into words what The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Roman Holiday mean to me. When I saw Lizzie McGuire at age 8, and then Roman Holiday shortly after, I became convinced Rome was the city where anything was possible.  An ordinary middle school graduate could try out life as a popstar, or an overscheduled princess could have a go at being a free spirit. Since Rome was never within reach, I hadn’t considered what would be possible for me there.  Visiting Rome was for me, in every cliche way, a metaphor that nothing is out of reach, and childhood dreams do come true.  

Now that I Veni Vidi Vici’ed in Rome, it’s time for some new dreams.  Right now, in my internship phase of study abroad, I’m dreaming of an interesting and influential career in media.  Whether we realize it or not, the media we consume has an undeniable impact on our lives, from our opinions of today’s social issues to our knowledge of the rest of the world. To work on the legal side of a television network or a production company would be a dream come true, and Umedia is only the beginning.  

Hannah C: Cool People You Didn’t Even Know Went to BU (And Some That You Did)

If BU’s impressive list of notable alumni didn’t influence your decision to attend the university, at least now as a current student you can enjoy the pride that comes with knowing you’ll join an awesome network when you graduate.  It’s impossible not to know about some of the superstars that once graced the sidewalks of Comm Ave. That Martin Luther King, Jr. was once a BU degree candidate is a selling point on campus tours, and word on the street says Howard Stern offered COM a sizable donation to name his alma mater after him.  It is undeniable that BU churns out some of the most influential people in a number of different fields. And chances are, you’ve spent at least one conversation your freshman year trying to come up with as many famous alums as you can.

You know about Jason Alexander’s BU history and you’re aware that Uzo Aduba ran track as a terrier. But did you know the duo who founded Burger King or the lyrical genius behind some of your favorite Disney songs were also BU students?  Read on for a complete list of Cool People You Didn’t Even Know Went to BU and Some That You Did.

 

Other than MLK and Howard Stern, here are some other famous alums of BU.

VIPs You Knew Were Terriers

Andy Cohen

Bill O’Reilly

Ginnifer Goodwin

Julianne Moore

Geena Davis

Jenna Marbles

But you knew that already.  How about this next list?  They’re people you recognize, but it’s not common knowledge they went to BU.

Big Names You Didn’t Know Went to BU

PSY, “Gangnam Style”

Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012

Tipper Gore, Former Second Lady

Nina Garcia, Fashion director of Elle magazine and “Project Runway”

Johnathan Goldsmith, Portrays “The Most Interesting Man in the World”

 

Also note these former BU students whose relatives are household names.

BU Alums Related to Cool People

Emily Deschanel, sister of Zooey Deschanel

David E. Kelley, married to Michelle Pfeiffer and son of Coach Jack Kelley

and Karen Kwan, sister of Michelle Kwan

 

Next, their names are not recognizable, but they did some awesome work post-grad.

BU Legends You Don’t Know of But Probably Should

David Edgerton and James McLamore, co-founders of Burger King

Howard Ashman, lyricist for Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid

Edgar J. Helms, founder of Goodwill Industries

Elizabeth (Sadie) Holloway Marston, creator of Wonder Woman

Helen Magill White, first woman to earn a Ph.D

and Mickey Drexler, CEO of J. Crew

 

And finally, since this is a COM blog…

BU Alums Killin’ It in the Media Industry

Bonnie Hammer, President, Sci-Fi Channel

Ted Harbert, President, E! Networks

Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment

Allison Davis, Vice President, CBS Television

and Shari Redstone, Vice Chair Viacom and CBS

Hannah C: A Very Biased List of the Best On-Campus Jobs

When you’ve Ubered all over the city of Boston, you’ve bought all the clothes, you’ve seen every show, have eaten out every meal, and your wallet is crammed full of receipts, that’s when you know.  It’s time to get a job. Finding an on-campus job is within reach, and so are the physical jobs themselves! Actually. It is so nice to go to work and then class with a minimal commute.

This list provides some options for those on the job hunt.  It’s a compilation of some on-campus jobs my friends and I have held, and I hope you enjoy!

  1. COM Ambassador

This job rocks.  The job of a COM ambassador is to be the face of the college. CAs are the first people you meet as a prospective student on a tour, the answers to your questions at Open House, and the best point of contact during your first few weeks as a freshman.

If it wasn’t already obvious, I’m a COM ambassador—it’s why I’m writing this blog —and my personal favorite part of the job is Open House. On two Saturdays every April, we welcome accepted students to give them a taste of what COM is all about. Each time we host an Open House, we’re reminded of why we chose COM and BU, and it’s our chance to tell why. We’re also great company to chat with and keep you entertained throughout the day.

“I love meeting prospective students and helping them with such an important decision – choosing a college.  When freshmen who took your tour tell you that you’re the reason they chose COM, it’s the greatest feeling.”

Stacy Schoonover, COM’17

  1. Orientation Student Advisor

Remember Orientation? Remember the crazy kids who carried oversized signs and got down on the dance floor for Rhett’s Night Our? (If you’re not yet a BU student, you’ll meet them during the summer before your freshman year, don’t worry.)

I was one of those kids, the Student Advisors. I lived and worked with a group of people who in a few short months became some of my best friends, all while meeting a quarter of the COM Class of 2019 and registering them for classes.  I don’t think I will ever laugh, dance or take ridiculous pictures on the job so much as I did as an SA. I had a stake in the success of the university for the first time as a student advisor: we worked hard as a group to pull off each session for BU and its students.  We saw it what meant for BU to count on us, and I’m a different student because of it. If you came to Orientation last summer (S/O to anyone in group 42), I hope you enjoyed your session as much as I did.  Apologies to anyone who witnessed me attempt the whip and nae nae.

“Being an SA allowed me to connect to incoming students, current students, and administrators in a way that made me feel more connected to BU. It made me realize that a ton of people at this university care a lot.”

Tim Green, COM’17

  1. Office assistant

Many offices on campus—the number is myriad—are in need of student employees to handle administrative tasks, such as replying to emails and answering phone calls.  It’s a gig that often allows for time for homework or reading, so you can read enough to expand your vocabulary to use fancy words like myriad. 😉

This job also provides an opportunity to learn about something outside your interests or become an expert about an academic department, such as your major.  In this type of job, the people you work with most often is the student population, while scheduling appointments and answering questions.

“I was an office assistant at Marsh Chapel my freshman year; it was a work-study job.  It was interesting because I never realized how popular Marsh Chapel was because of the legacy Martin Luther King, Jr., and Howard Thurman left until one of my responsibilities was to track where everyone came from at servcie.  And every Sunday, there were people from all over the country.  I think the farthest I recorded was Wyoming, and people from Maine and New Hampshire would use it as their regular service.”

Monica Nunez, SHA’16

“I love working at the CCD because I get to help younger students utilize all of the services that BU has to offer that will aid them in getting the most value out of their time here.”

Nika Witczak, Questrom’16

  1. Student Activities (SAO) Event consultant

If your dream is to plan events, this is the closest you’ll get at BU.  Every on-campus event needs an event consultant to help organizations take care of the details.  Student employees in the SAO know everything that needs to get done in order for events to go off without a hitch.

“Being an event consultant can be stressful, but I absolutely love meeting new people (and I love my coworkers)!  Plus we get to know in advance about all the cool events happening on campus – it’s pretty awesome to see how student groups are so motivated and I’m glad to help troubleshoot the problems they may come across.  In general, the job is great because it’s a really fast-paced environment and I feel like I’m being helpful and productive while I’m there.”

Adrienne, CAS’17

  1. Howard Thurman Center (HTC) ambassador

A lesser-known corner of campus, the HTC is a great place to meet new people and engage in conversations that challenge your perspective.  Join the HTC for discussions about difficult topics and finding common ground with students of all backgrounds.

The HTC is a place for students to learn more about themselves and their place in the world, break down previous notions about social issues, and develop a strong sense of self.

“College presents a rare space where you are surrounded by vastly different perspectives and ideas.  The HTC recognizes the importance of bringing those people together and having them engage in meaningful conversations.  I’m really excited to be a part of the center and promote their mission.”

Naamit Tubul, CAS’17

Hannah C: Season Three

Aaand we’re back. Starting off yet another fall semester has never been better. Third time is the charm, right? Here’s hoping!

The only thing cuter than my fresh new set of stationery is the fact that back-to-school always seems like the return of a long-running but beloved television show. At the start of the new season, everyone comes back a little older, with new stories to tell and new haircuts to flaunt.  There are always a few new cast members added to the crew, and storylines are bound to change. Freshman and sophomore year strung me along many different lines, and I’m excited for what path junior year has in store.

If college’s cyclical structure is like each season of a show, then junior year is the one with all the enticing promos and a count down til the end of the hiatus. I had the most unforgettable summer (blog post to come), but at its end, I found myself more than ready for the academic year ahead.

It’s finally time for internships, taking classes in my major and knowing my way around enough not to get lost on the first day of class. And studying abroad! Spoiler alert: I won’t be in Boston next semester. But for now, I think junior year is a time to be influential in the communities I’ve joined. By the time I graduate, I want to have made positive changes on campus; I didn’t come to college just to make a cameo.

We have a successful premiere behind us, and we’re in for a good season. Stay tuned.

Hannah C: Landing the Perfect Summer Job

Only four days of classes and one exam stand between me and summer. After an amazing and sleep-depriving semester, I am so ready for it.  As the summer after my sophomore year, it’s the second time around for me, and I know what I need to do to make the most of it – including making some earnings while I’m at it. If I’ve learned anything about summer jobs, it’s that having the perfect one all depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’ve spent spring semester polishing your resume and making phone calls to land an internship, you’re definitely on track to add a great learning experience to your career.  If not, you might also have the right idea.  When college begins to feel like a rat race, I think summer is the ideal opportunity to do something for yourself instead of your future.  Pick a job you want to do, rather than one you should do.  (It does help if you find one that is both.)

The perfect summer job to me might mean something completely different than it does to you.  It’s all about targeting what matters most to you, whether that is raising that number in your bank account, making a difference in your community, or getting a tan.  I think even if you do something completely unrelated to your desired career, you have the potential to do yourself a favor. For example, you could take a position that is relaxing enough to leave you aching to be back in the classroom or explore a field that sparks a new interest.

Take advantage of your surroundings.  If you’re ten minutes away from a tourist attraction, work at the place people flock to from all over, and you’ll probably meet a slew of people with cool stories.  If you live near the beach, take a wait staff job at an oceanside restaurant and enjoy the view as you work.  Or work for a delivery service that allows you to see many different parts of your town.

Take advantage of your skills.  Perform the violin at weddings, photograph a bat mitzvah or two, tutor that third grader two doors down, or pet sit your favorite golden retriever.  Sometimes all it takes is advertisement by word of mouth to get hired for high-paying jobs that simply require you to do what you love.

I’ve held “real” summer jobs since I was 16.  A local franchise called Bath Junkie hired me and turned me into, well, a bath junkie.  I created scrubs and lotions, coordinated events, and best of all, talked to people all day. Even if it was just about bath products, I loved it. After three years working there, I’d consider myself a low-key expert on scents and bath bombs.  A unique (and probably useless) skill I wouldn’t have had if I stuck to a typical job.

That’s not to say classic summer jobs aren’t worthwhile: last summer I was a camp counselor at a ritzy gym.  The job came with a free membership, so after my day of hanging out with preschoolers, I worked out at a top-notch fitness club.  I worked a steady, unchanging schedule and had off nights and weekends.  For last summer, to me, that was the perfect summer job.

This summer I have the privilege of meeting many of you as a Student Advisor for Orientation.  I absolutely cannot wait to begin answering all of your questions and helping to put your four years off to a great start. The job also comes with the obvious perk of spending the summer in Boston, which I’ve heard is unbeatable.  I couldn’t ask for a better gig for this summer.

My point here is that your perfect summer job is completely attainable as long as you can define exactly what you want from your summer.  It might not be the conventional internship experience, but you could end up thanking yourself for picking even just one summer to do something different.  Don’t sit behind a desk if that doesn’t make you want to wake up every morning and get to work.  Don’t return to your barista job if the thought of taking others’ orders all day makes you roll your eyes.  It’s your summer, and if you work hard enough for it, you deserve to have the perfect job for you.

Wishing you a happy summer and successful job-hunting! You totally got this.