Staff editorial: Don’t sweat the summer stuff

With barely a week of classes left of the semester and the arrival of warm weather (finally), it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the excitement of finishing classes and leaving campus for the summer. While the thought of breaking out of the routine of the semester sounds refreshing, it’s also a big source of stress for those of us who haven’t lined up plans for the summer yet. It feels like everyone else has amazing plans for the next few months, and that it’s too late to find interesting opportunities that are still looking for applicants. For those of us who are still stressing about what to do, you’re not the only one and it’s going to be OK.

Washington University has resources to help students find a wide variety of summer experiences. The Career Center is available to help you explore your choices and has connections with many companies and start-ups in the St. Louis area and beyond. Making an appointment with them is easy and low-stress, and you can schedule a meeting at the center online. Many career counselors are still taking appointments during reading week and finals period. Even if you can’t find some free time to go in person, explore CAREERlink for posted positions for the summer.

Your four-year and major advisors are also a great resource in terms of helping you brainstorm opportunities for the summer. Often, these mentors will have a different perspective and have ideas about places you haven’t looked into yet. Shoot them an email and ask if they’re available before the end of the year.

But remember, don’t feel pressured to find an impressive or high-paying job or internship for summer break. Despite what it sounds like, not everyone is working at a Fortune 500 company for the next few months. In the end, it’s much more important to find something that aligns with your interests. Plenty of non-profit organizations have opportunities for college students that could be meaningful and worth putting on a resume, even if you don’t make a ton of money. Similarly, many students choose to take a class, do research, volunteer or study abroad. Even working at your neighborhood coffee shop or a local seasonal job is a purposeful way to spend the summer.

Or for another option: Don’t do anything! College is a stressful place, and you’re about to finish a long year of working on your studies. It is called summer break, after all.

No matter how you envision the next few months, it’s not too late to find an amazing experience for this summer. You have the resources, the materials and the drive. So good luck and have a wonderful summer break!