The second semester of your junior year can be an absolutely horrifying time in your life. Suddenly, all of your fun loving days of lounging around on the green, taking breadth classes on vampires, and changing your major six or seven times a semester are over. Instead, you’re consumed with thoughts of grad school, offering a piece of your soul to the higher powers to help make sure you can actually graduate in four years, and spending endless hours searching for that age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

career fairParamount to (or at least on par with) all of these is the dreaded search for the perfect summer internship. Whether it’s doing research at a medical lab, working as an analyst at Goldman Sach’s, or teaching one-armed underprivileged orphans English in a rural village in Namibia, what you choose to do the summer of your junior year is critical. It can give you invaluable experience on your resume, get you in contact to network with professionals in your field, or, if you’re really lucky, start you off with a career when May 2015 has come and gone. If you find yourself drowning in a sea of half-written cover letters, resume critiques, and your friends’ Facebook status about how they just got accepted into their dream internships, here’s some advice to help you find safer shores:

  1. Put yourself out there. A lot of people I know are uncomfortable with asking for help. When it comes to job or internship searches, though, don’t be afraid to ask for a little push now and then. Reach out to your professors and advisors. Update your Linked-In account and get your peers and supervisors to endorse you with anything that might appear marketable. Did you see a speaker or read a book that made you feel a connection? Reach out to any and everyone that might be even remotely related to what you want to do and see if they have any positions available. Everyone remembers what the job search is like, so even if they can’t help you directly, chances are they’ll pass you along to someone who’s hiring. And if they don’t, the worst they can say is no…which brings me to my next point.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail. Finding a job or internship is hard. You might not hear back from your first choice, and you might not get your second. As Honors kids, sometimes it’s hard to remember that failure is a part of life. But, it’s important to remember that life is unexpected, and the path you wanted to take may not be the path that’s right for you. Doors close so windows can open.
  3. Take advantage of resources. Everyone knows that Career Services exists, but have you used them lately? Whether you want to try your hand at mock interviews, need to get a quick lesson on etiquette dinners, or are looking for resume critiques, reach out! I know networking events and career fairs can be overwhelming, but sometimes we have to just put on a brave face and take the plunge.
  4. Breathe. No matter what happens this summer, you will be okay. Whether you find your dream internship, do undergraduate research, work a part-time job, or have daily 10-hour binges of The Office (i.e. my winter session), you will find success and you will find happiness. In the meantime, go lounge on the green and do nothing all day. College goes by in a blink of an eye, so take a moment to sit back and relax. You deserve it.
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