Summer plans for college students

Alyssa Pasicznyk is a senior in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. During her time at OU, she focused on broadcast journalism, working as a multimedia reporter and news anchor for WOUB Public Media. When she’s not toting a camera around campus, you can find her playing with her two dogs or pretending to be a runner along the Hocking River. To see samples her work and ideas for your own online portfolio, visit AlyssaPasicznyk.wordpress.com.

With snow still on the ground and school in full swing, it’s hard to believe that summer break is creeping around the corner. Unfortunately, once the weather begins to warm and classes come to a close, students scrambling to make plans for summer break are often too late. Although a “relaxing” summer seems attractive in theory, a peaceful break often becomes stressful when pacing the house in boredom and sleeping in until the sun goes down eventually takes a toll on morale.

Instead of wasting the two-plus month recess from classes, start thinking about how to utilize your summer. Here are five ways to make the most of summer break, and take advantage of the time out of school.

1. Make A Plan: Whether it’s an internship, a seasonal job or a shadowing opportunity, summer break is the time to get a jump on those who spend the season lounging at the pool. To begin the application process, make a plan of action before diving into the job hunt. Review your resume with a professor, spruce up your social media profiles and begin. University websites and job sites are great places to discover summer opportunities. The more time you spend researching, the better the chance of spending the summer doing something you love.

2. Use Your Resources: College is a remarkable time for networking without any of the awkwardness of using people for your own gain. Good professors want their students to achieve their goals, and will help both inside and outside of the classroom to get them there. Before you begin applying, check with professors to see if they have any connections or leads on summer internships. Ask friends and upperclassmen about their internship opportunities, and then see if they have a contact you can reach out to.

3. Over Apply, Over Apply, Over Apply! I can’t stress this point enough. If you apply to a dozen internships, odds are only a handful will get back to you and even fewer will actually offer the job. I learned this lesson the hard way the summer after my junior year when I only applied to a handful of internships. I was given an interview at a local television station, thought I was a shoe in for the job, then left me winded after the station didn’t offer me the spot. Over applying ensures that you take advantage of every possible opportunity, leaving nothing in your summer break left to chance.

4. Have An Open Mind: After the applying is done and prospects begin to unfold, you may be conflicted with the opportunities being offered to you. “Unpaid” and “5 a.m.” are not the sexiest words to hear while listening to friends rattle on about their plans for family vacation in Cancun. Despite the lack of appeal, in the media industry, unpaid internships and odd hours are a fact of life. Young journalists must pay their dues before getting paid. I spent the summer after my freshman year working at a local radio station for no money with a 4 a.m. wake up call. Despite the aches and pains, I’m glad that I embraced the experience and learned to make the most of a trying situation.

5. Trust Your Gut: Even though “paying your dues” is often a part of the job latter, it’s important not to bite off a bigger internship than you can chew. Be open with your boss about availability and vacations before beginning the job. Often, employers offering unpaid internships are flexible with hours and understand the need to work a second job on the side. Summer internships are a great resume builder, but should not leave you feeling miserable and overworked.

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