Most college students feel pressured to build their résumés and get the perfect ‘real-world’ experience when summertime comes around. To many, this use of time away from school feels practical and necessary for the future. While a great way to get a head start, landing the dream internship or job is not the only way to make the most of the sunny months before school starts back up again.
Building a network can (and should) include a diverse range of people. Connections you make during your time as a student is crucial for future ventures, references, mentors and collaborations. The varied scope of knowledge gained will prove to be worthwhile down the road. Rising junior at Penn State, Emily Dinda, worked at the Philadelphia Cricket Club for many years through high school and during her summer as a rising sophomore in college.
She says, “I made a ton of friends I still keep in touch with today! It also allowed me to develop a closeness to the families through coaching and babysitting their kids.”
Though Dinda values her network, this job also allowed her to find the advantage of widening that network and seeking out new opportunities. She says, “It was time for me to expand my career horizons and move on. I learned it’s okay to leave something you love because there will always be a job out there to satisfy the need for more — more experiences, maybe more money and definitely more friends!”
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Rising senior at Wake Forest University, Joey DeSimone, interned last summer for a local recruitment firm, Fidato Partners. Reflecting while in the midst of studying for the MCAT, he laughed and said “I know I don’t want to do this!”
Though working at the recruitment firm was a long way from DeSimone’s aspirations to be a doctor, he told VALLEY that even though this job helped solidify that he does not want a 9 to 5 desk job, he gained a lot from this experience.
DeSimone says, “[Interning] helped me make strong connections and showed me how a business office operates. It taught me communication and organization skills I can use in other aspects of my life.”
For college students, the number one job is to learn. Take advantage of this ‘profession’ and be a student even when school is out. Ask questions! A network is nothing if it’s not cultivated and utilized. Ask the parents, local business owners and friends that already exist in your web about their careers, professional opinions and advice.
The people, experiences and perspectives you pick up along your way all add something to your tool belt that can equip you for the future. Whether that means attaining your dream job or reaching personal goals, use this time to benefit yourself. Take advantage of your summers as a student and explore the ways you can network, try something new, learn and ask questions before you’re back to the books in State College!