As a student, have you ever been keen on working at the local fast food or coffee chain for the entirety of your summer?
Especially as your friends are out and about playing in the sun (finally). Societal and parental pressure kicks in, however, and you’re driven to find a job the minute the semester ends. No matter how mind-numbing it is.
These years are meant to be the best of your life, and if you’re spending all your time trying to land that “perfect” internship so you can do coffee runs and get paid next to nothing, how does that make them the best? I’m not saying working isn’t important—in fact, the opposite is true. It gives you experience and money to be able to do the things you want to do (i.e. pay for school), but what I’m saying is that these may be the only years of your life when working isn’t your top priority—and you shouldn’t have to see it as one.
Just hear me out.
So Long, Sweet Summers…
Most people lose sight of the fact that this could be the last chance you get to truly enjoy the summer (unless, of course, you become a teacher). Most careers that you’re going to end up in will be 9-5, Monday to Friday, 12 months a year (#FML). Although you can still enjoy the summer in your career, it’s suddenly all about partying on the weekends, and weekends only.
So kick back and enjoy the sunshine and patios on a Tuesday afternoon.
You’re Young (and Born) to Be Wild
You hear the cliché of only being young once, but the thing is, it’s totally true. This is the prime time to really do whatever you want. Travel the world, say yes to every party invite you get, get a mean tan, and enjoy the summer. This is your chance to take advantage of the time you have, because once you graduate, life gets in the way and often stops you from doing just that.
I know what you’re thinking, though: “Just because I’m going to start working full-time after graduation, that’s not going to stop me from living life!” And you’re completely right. You get out of life what you put into it. If you want to call in sick to work to go to the beach with your friends or party on a work night, all the power to you. Eventually, though, you’re going to realize that after college or university your career does become your main focus in life (outside of family), whether you like it or not. After all, partying doesn’t pay rent and student loans. So if you have the opportunity to live life on the edge now, do it! Don’t wait. The longer you put it off, the lesser of a chance it’ll happen.
This Isn’t Your Career… Necessarily
Having a summer job may feel like the most important thing ever. But the truth is, it isn’t your career. You’ll gain some valuable experience, have something to add to your resume, and that’ll be the end of it. You’ll move on, and never really know if your job scooping ice cream all summer really had any impact in landing you your first full-time position once you graduate.
So what’s my point? Remember that your summer job isn’t your career. It is 2-4 months of your life, and then you head back to school and forget it even happened. Whether you’re spending your summer as an intern in your field or working at a local coffee shop, at the end of the day, your 4-month summer job is not your career. So why allow it to take over your entire summer, stress you out, and be the only thing you think about?
My advice? Get a summer job, but don’t focus your entire summer on finding the “perfect” summer job. Find something that can pay the bills and don’t stress about how it’s going to affect your future (chances are, it won’t).
Live in the moment while you’re young—there’s no need to make your entire summer revolve around work.
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.