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.