Internship alternatives for your summer

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Vanicek | Daily Texan Staff

In the past month, high school seniors got the good — or bad — news that comes with college acceptance letters. In that same period, many college students, who no doubt enjoyed putting the stress of acceptance letters behind them, have gotten turned down from their preferred summer internships, jobs and study abroad programs, leaving them to wonder what the hell they’re going do to fend off the mid-year doldrums.

But these students shouldn’t be afraid. Summer is just seven weeks away and that is plenty of time to find another option, even if most of the high-profile internships’ and study abroad programs’ deadlines have already passed. Moreover, one of the best options around is right under your nose: staying in Austin and taking classes at UT, online or at ACC. Below we have compiled a look at your options, and a defense for staying put for summer.

Internships

Now’s the time to get creative with your internship search. Most of the well-established programs’ deadlines are closed, leaving you to muscle your way into organizations that may not have traditional internships lined up. 

Still, a quick search on Internships.com pulled up over 100 summer internships in and around Austin, a good place to start. But just because it’s not listed doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Look to local non-profits and start-up companies, where an email to a mid-level exec can put you on their radar. 

If you’re dreading spending your summer making copies, you’d best get over it. Making copies is a great way to get a feel for both an office and an industry, and a summer spent suffering as an underling in a law firm could be just the thing to make you realize you’d prefer pulling your teeth out to attending law school. Do note, however, that suffering from overwork is not terribly useful. Make sure you communicate how many hours you’ll work to your employer and stick to that number.

Jobs

Yes, it’s harder to find a paying job in an interesting field than it is to find an unpaid internship, and no one likes to be the one who worked at Wendy’s while their friends all flocked overseas or shadowed heart surgeons. But do you like being the one who has started paying off your student loans?

Classes

There’s no degree plan on this campus that doesn’t include classes offered during the summer, be it at UT, online or at a community college. Though campus during summer is best described as “swampy,” the course offerings are diverse. Taking a half-day of classes all summer may seem uninspired, but it is actually quite productive. By doing this, you could push a year of sciences or two-thirds of your language requirment out of the way. 

Best of all, without your regular extracurriculars, you can focus on and enjoy your coursework in a way the calendar year may not afford you, or get the grades the calendar year may not afford you. Even if you can’t find the joy in, say, Intro to World Literature, it’s easy to get your course work over with and spend evenings to yourself, taking a trip to Barton Springs, cooking a big dinner or finally beating that video game.  

True, what I am offering here is advice, but it’s not unfounded. The semester after my freshman year, I traveled to Costa Rica through study abroad, worked at a summer camp for children and adults with special needs and took a road trip to the Grand Canyon. The next summer, an unexpected change in my career path left me without a plan in mid-March. I resolved to take a job as a tutor and finish off two semesters of physics, and my summer turned out wonderfully. I never felt tired, because I had so much time to work, even while working part-time and taking two crucial classes in my degree program. My summer soundbite was simple, but so was my day-to-day life. It was almost like I did the unthinkable and took the summer off.

Published on March 20, 2013 as "Don't let internship denial turn summer into bummer".