Growing up there were always those kids who relished the last day of school. They counted every day, hour, second until the final ringing of the bell and the opportunity to loosen the tie and to get out the ‘monkey suit’ commonly known as our school uniform. For me I knew that summer just meant a different schedule, but structure none the less. By college I regarded summer break as the opportunity to process and store away the previous semester before returning to the trough in the Fall. Part of the beauty of having 4 years to complete undergrad is if you fall of track you have time to get back on track … or at least a summer or two to find your way back.
This June as I finished up my first semester I found myself exhausted. Mostly mentally exhausted but by proxy a little bit physically exhausted. For my first semester I expected more reading. I expected a scheduling that would be a challenge having hoofed it from 9 to 5 for the last few years. I expected a learning curve for writing, and most of all I expected to be physically exhausted by the end of the semester. What I definitely didn’t expect was the group process to kick my tail. It challenged me at times, it begged me to catch up at other times and most of all by the end of the semester I realized it had enriched what I learned through the course readings. By June I had transformed into one of those kids counting off the days to the ‘official’ start of summer. I spent a few weeks trying to get back some semblance of my pre-grad school schedule. I spent another few weeks decompressing….and boy was that fun. But before I knew it I was hit with the panic.
For the full time (2 year program) student you have one summer to make sure you haven’t fallen off track, aren’t about to fall off track or to figure out what your track should be. Many, arguably most paid internships take place during the summer (corporations/organizations use paid internships geared towards grad students as a stop gap on projects during the summer months when salaried employees are often using vacation time). Besides the internship route summer makes an excellent time for figuring out post program fellowships. By the time I decompressed and before I knew it…it was July and I had 35 days left to summer.
Of course by July most paid internships are gone. While I’ve squandered part of my summer and have lost some internship opportunities I’ve been plugging away with figuring out the post-school-fellowship-thing. Also to make sure I am on track to finish up strong in my program I have been reworking my resume, updating my interview skills, working references, looking for spring or (next) summer internship opportunities that I will be able to parlay into employment opportunities …. cause the job market is no joke. While summer is about decompressing it is more about keeping focus for year 2 and staying on track to capitalize on the grad school experience.