Make This Summer Count (Even If You Don’t Have an Internship)

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Summer’s here! While you’re probably excited to start relaxing, spending time with friends and family and “forgetting” about school (as much as possible), summer can be a stressful time if everyone around you is getting a head start on their careers with internships. Luckily for you, you don’t have to have an internship to make your summer count!

Didn’t get your dream internship? If you’re going to spend your summer slinging pizza’s at the neighbourhood shop or folding t-shirts at the mall, fear not. You really can make this summer count in the bigger context of your future, and we’re not talking about just improving your transferable skills in customer service.

Curious what your options are? Here are some of the best ways to make this summer count sans an internship.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a practical and, quite frankly, much needed way for you to gain legitimate skills for your career. There are a ton of ways for you to get involved in your community, and those organizations usually need some help in the skillset that you’re studying. 

Love animals? Hook up with your local SPCA. Itching to support local arts? Check out your local film society. Enjoy hanging out with kids? Love skateboarding? Need to spend some time in nature? Whatever you’re passionate about, there’s something out there for you.

Community, nonprofit, and charitable organizations are always looking for people in specialized areas. Whether you’re studying marketing, business, accounting, or anything under the sun, there’s an organization with minimal funding that could really use your help. So get out there, make an impact and pad that resume!

Learn a New Skill or Pick Up a Hobby

Maybe you want your summer months to focus more on you — totally legit. A great way to focus your summer on you and your future at the same time is to learn a new skill. Chances are there’s something out there that you’d really love to know how to do, but have simply never had the time to learn. Well, now’s your time.

If you have a number of dream skills to choose from, pick the one most applicable to your future career. Maybe you’d love to learn how to blog or build websites and are planning for a career in marketing, so give it a try! Likewise, if one of your goals is to work abroad, take the time to learn a new language.

Or perhaps you’re not itching to spend the summer learning (your brain needs a break!), and, if that’s the case, pick up a hobby. Make short films, take photographs, read all of the classic novels, start a scrapbook. Aim for a hobby with a project that you’ll be able to show in some capacity later!

Take a Summer Class

If you’d like to get ahead and learn best in a formal educational environment, consider summer school. Whether it’s through your university, a community center or online, classes are a great way to build your knowledge, spend your summer with a purpose and make sure your student instincts don’t get rusty. Getting a head start on your next year can be a great way to ensure next year is as good as you want it to be!

If you’re taking summer classes though, remember to go easy on yourself. You’ll have to get back into student life in September, so make sure you take some “you time”. 

Network

Another great way to spend your summer is to network! This is an especially great choice if you’re not sure what you want to do after school’s done. 

Take some time to do research on your potential future career. What are some companies you might want to work at? What industries? What’s your end goal? Once you’ve done some preliminary research, find some people in those roles, reach out and ask them if you can take them for a coffee and pick their brain.

Not only will this help you get a feel for your career, but you’ll build your network so, when the time comes to look for a job, you’ll have a few ways to put feelers out there.

Just because you didn’t land an internship doesn’t mean that you can’t use this summer to build your career. You might not be doing it in the most conventional way, but it definitely still counts! If you approach your summer break with a purpose, it definitely won’t go to waste. Remember: “Time spent doing what you love is never wasted” – John Lennon.

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About the author

Tae Haahr is a writer, podcaster and marketer. When she’s not changing hearts and minds, you can find her writing her final research paper for her MA, or curled up on the couch with her pug Ben. You can hangout with her digitally on Twitter and Instagram @taehaahr.