Working Over the Summer  

Jenna McKay is a writer, editor, and administrative aide in the DC area. She delights in taking a red pen to any piece of writing, and aspires to freelance full-time in the coming years, swapping the mighty pen for Word’s Track Changes, and producing plenty of her own work as well. She graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a B.A. in English, Summa Cum Laude, and English Honors. She loves to hike whenever she has the time, and considers herself something of a foodie, open to trying just about any (vegetarian) food she can. Jenna currently lives a cozy existence with her partner and two fluffy felines.

Whether you have yourself or a family to support, or you just want to have a little extra pocket cash, many students opt for short-term jobs during their summer months. These jobs are often low-stress, and can be the perfect activity for a student looking to occupy their time in a productive way. Summer jobs can help offset student loans and save on payments in the future. They can keep students from wasting their time away by providing structure, and incentive to wake up at a reasonable hour.


This category of activity also includes internships. Most local businesses understand that students are looking for temporary employment during these months, so their expectations do not usually run to the long-term. Not only does this provide plenty of opportunity; it also means that students can gain invaluable experience in any number of fields of work. In this way, not only can they hone their tastes and skills in their particular areas of interest; students can also discover new interests, passions, and hobbies that they would not have normally explored.


Too many students do not take advantage of these opportunities, whether they think it might not be the cool thing to do, or they just want the summer to relax.  Neither of these is necessarily the “wrong” decision, and different choices are better suited for different individuals. If a student does choose to take up a job over the summer, there are many things that person can do in order to attain one.


First, the student should consider what their goals are: are they looking to primarily make money? Do they already know what they want to do in life, and simply want the experience? Are they looking to gather new experience and explore hobbies? This information should inform where they search, who they ask, and what they should expect out of their potential job. Your mother might have connections that you never knew about, for example. And in terms of compensation, a law firm is more likely to provide payment than an animal sanctuary.


If no options appeal to the student, or the breadth of information and resources is just too wide, there is always another option: DIY. Perhaps there is a local business that the student has always loved patronizing, or pertains to their interests, but they just don’t offer paid positions. The student can try offering up their services for free, in exchange for the official creation of their own internship position that they can then put on their resume. Both parties benefit.


Or, students can go even more DIY, by starting up their own business. Have a passion for animals? Take up dog-walking for a small fee. Have a mechanical brain and a penchant for fixing things? Become the local “IT guy.” Not only does this earn the student money; it also teaches how to network, and the value of a single note of that money, not matter what the currency. In conclusion, summer jobs are more than just work. They are networking, experience, potential relationships, hobby-makers, and much more.

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