Cody Roberts • guest writer

I never received an internship over the summer after my freshman year, and for all the freshmen concerned or frustrated with a lack of opportunities, I am telling you not to be. The most important goal of this summer is to recover from what often turns out to be a rough first year and then to ready yourself for harder material in the fall. Now that doesn’t mean you should simply do nothing for a solid three months, but rather you should be looking for opportunities beyond just your discipline to keep yourself busy. When you’re interviewing for a future position, you don’t want to be viewed as an individual who doesn’t accomplish anything when given an abundance of time. So doing anything is better than nothing.

The first alternative I’d look at is simply a different job; one unrelated to whatever you’re studying. Say you find a warehouse job - this is unlikely to help in your career academic-wise, but making even a little amount of money eases the ever-growing debt from Rose-Hulman. Additionally, employer connections can appear from seemingly nowhere. It might so happen that your boss is friends with the hiring manager at the engineering firm that you’re seeking to intern at. So in this who-you-know society we live in, you might as well try to open some doors for yourself over this coming summer. I’d start with any family connections you may have, and then branch out to positions in a warehouse, retail, fast food, etc.
If a job is out of the question, then volunteering is a very nice alternative. I’m not sure how many of you volunteer on a regular basis, but there are some organizations such as the Light House Mission that truly benefit Terre Haute. Similar to having a job, the people you meet will not only make you a better individual, but you may stumble upon an opportunity previously obscured to you. Good places to look are hospitals, food pantries, and other such organizations in your local community. Again, being in the position to say that you volunteered on a weekly basis is better than saying you slept in and played video games every day.
The last resort in my opinion is to spend your summer taking classes. If you don’t believe you’ll be able to accomplish much outside of the classroom over the summer, you might as well not leave it. I know quite a few people who really benefitted from taking classes, but it’s not for everyone. You can retake some classes in a lesser-stress environment, you can get some of those humanities out of the way without the seniors hounding over them, and you can even get ahead to have a better schedule later on or to achieve that double (or dare I say triple) major. So honestly, whatever you decide to do this summer, it will be much better than simply letting the summer pass and returning in the fall with nothing accomplished.

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