Now that the semester is wrapping up (yay, the end is in sight!) it is time to make a transformation from stressed-out student dealing with papers, profs and presentations, to member of the workforce.
The Summer Workforce, that is. And it’s a big change to go from student to employee.
On the “pro” side of the equation, it’s always nice to be getting paid. Plus, for most summer jobs, you get to come home at the end of the day and do whatever you want until the next day. Your evenings, weekends, and other spare time aren’t bogged down with studying and schoolwork. You feel free! It’s also a nice change to get out of the classroom and off the campus and see some more of the world.
I guess there are a few “cons”, too. Your days are more structured – as a student you have freedom while at school. You can go to class or not go. If you’re between classes, you can hang out doing whatever you decide. You pretty much make your own schedule. As an employee, you’ve got to show up at a certain time and stay till a certain time, and the time in between you’re supposed to actually be “working”. That can really bring a person down, some days. You might be making money, but probably trying not to spend very much of it if you’re saving up for school in the fall, and that can be harsh. The summer jobs that are out there aren’t always your dream job – just something to make some cash or whatever is available – and they can be a bit of a chore for four months. You might go straight from school to work and back to school with no time for a holiday.
Now that I’ve kindly pointed out everything that sucks about summer jobs, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Your summer job can help you get a real job. Some jobs are quick-cash makers (like tree-planting in B.C. – wow!) and aren’t really there to bolster up your resume for when you’ve graduated but to pay your tuition or living expenses for the coming year. However, if you really want to add some experience to your resume, there are summer jobs out there that can do just that. Libraries, youth centers, camps and rec centers are always looking for summer programmers and having “program coordinator” on the resume looks pretty good and really builds up skills you’ll use in your career-type jobs. You can always look around for those types of opportunities. Starting your own business during the summer, if you’re of an entrepreunerial mindset, could also look great on a resume and give you lots of experience even if it’s only lawncare or babysitting that you end up doing.
If you can, take a break! School is an intense, focused eight months of the year, and to begin working the day after your last final and quit the day before class starts could make you a bit more money but may also exhaust you, and rightly so. If you can, try to take a little break – a week off after finals or a week off before school begins – to give yourself some down time. If you can afford it and if the job allows, try for two. A chance to get refreshed and finally satisfy your craving for laziness and relaxation. Plus, it’s summer, and it’s the only time in this part of the world that the weather doesn’t pretty much suck! You need time to enjoy it.
Part-time Potential? Sometimes summer jobs can turn into a part-time deal during the school year, letting you work a couple shifts a week and make some extra cash. You might want to watch out for something along those lines. Who knows, if you work as a summer programmer at a library throughout university it could even turn into your first real job when you graduate – you never know what a summer job can become.
Stress or No Stress? Jobs that look good on a resume or could turn into full-time post-school jobs are always great, but they may involve a little more stress and responsibility on your part. If you’re feeling particularly taxed after a trying year at school, maybe you just want to paint houses or serve ice cream or something that doesn’t involve a ton of responsibility or a great deal of brainpower investment.
Anyway, things to keep in mind as you begin the job hunt. You can always go to RDC’s employment page to find summer jobs geared towards students if you need a place to start looking!