It always seems that in spring, as the semester winds down, the stress meter turns up a few extra notches among the University of Maryland student body. While some students are fortunate to have internships for the summer locked down months in advance, many others find themselves scrambling and panicked as mid-May approaches.
If you find yourself in the latter group, try not to worry. Yes, it’s frustrating to log on to LinkedIn every day and see another post announcing an acquaintance’s exciting plans, but there are other ways to have a fulfilling summer that don’t sacrifice professional pursuits. Here are a few:
Get a paying job
Even if you did have an internship, it might not be a paying one, and that can significantly cost you. Taking an internship for credit at this university means paying tuition for a summer class — $367 per credit for in-state undergrads and $1,456 for out-of-state undergrads. Add onto this the cost of living and transportation and you’re looking at a pretty expensive summer. Getting a regular, paying job lets you save up instead.
Help a professor with research
This university prides itself on being a research institution — which is something you can take advantage of. The Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research outlines ways for students in a variety of majors to get involved. Doing research with a professor can be extremely beneficial, and you’ll learn more about your field or gain a valuable professional connection and reference in the process.
Take a summer class
Although I just outlined the expenses associated with taking credits during the summer, taking classes is an option worth exploring. Enrolling in courses at a local community college is an affordable solution, but make sure to check with your advisers beforehand to make sure the credit will transfer. Most summer classes aren’t a huge time commitment — some are even online, which gives you time to get a part-time job as well.
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Get a head start on looking for fall internships
June, July and August aren’t the only times to be an intern. Being in College Park during the fall or spring semester gives you access to internship positions on Capitol Hill just a Metro ride away. Applying for an internship during the non-summer months might mean you’re facing a smaller, less competitive applicant crowd; it’ll mainly be students from nearby schools you’re up against. Companies or organizations also may also hire fewer interns, allowing those who get the job to take on more responsibility and gain hands-on experience.
Use summer vacation for what the name suggests. Spend it doing the things you rarely get the chance to do — take a trip, lay on your couch and be lazy or hang out with friends from home. Following graduation, you’ll likely be in a professional environment and work five days a week with limited vacation time, so enjoy the freedom while you have it.