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Don't have an internship? Here are 10 things you should do!

Because a lack of an internship doesn't mean your summer has to go to waste...

Sarah Xu

June 03, 2024


10 things to do instead of interning this summer
10 things to do instead of interning this summer

As the academic year draws to a close, many college students find themselves facing the question of what to do during the summer months, especially if they haven't secured a traditional internship. While internships are valuable experiences, they're not the only path to career development and professional growth. For college students without summer internships, there are still plenty of opportunities to enhance their skills, explore interests, and build a solid foundation for future success.

Here are several productive, alternate paths to consider:

1️⃣ Freelance or Remote Work: In today's digital age, it's become easier and easier to find remote work and freelancing opportunities. Taking on freelance projects not only allows students to earn income but also provides real-world experience, builds their portfolio, and expands their professional network.

2️⃣ Volunteer or Community Service: Giving back to the community through volunteer work is not only fulfilling but also beneficial for personal and professional development. Students can seek out volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits, community organizations, or charitable initiatives aligned with their interests and values. Whether it's tutoring underserved youth, organizing community events, or participating in environmental conservation efforts, volunteering demonstrates leadership, empathy, and social responsibility – qualities highly valued by employers.

3️⃣ Skill Development and Online Courses: Summer break presents an ideal opportunity for students to invest in self-improvement and skill development. Online learning platforms, like LinkedIn Learning, offer a plethora of courses covering a wide range of topics, from coding and digital marketing to project management and entrepreneurship. By enrolling in relevant courses or certification programs, students can acquire new skills, stay current with industry trends, and bolster their resume with valuable credentials.

4️⃣ Personal Projects and Passion Pursuits: The summer months provide ample time for students to pursue personal projects and explore their passions outside of academics. Whether it's starting a blog, launching a YouTube channel, writing a novel, or developing a mobile app, engaging in creative endeavors allows students to express themselves, hone their talents, and showcase their creativity. These passion projects can also serve as tangible evidence of initiative, innovation, and problem-solving skills – qualities highly sought after by employers.

5️⃣ Networking and Informational Interviews: Building and nurturing professional relationships is essential for career advancement. Even without a formal internship, students can leverage the summer break to network with industry professionals, alumni, and mentors. Reach out to individuals whose careers align with your interests and request informational interviews to gain insights into their career paths, industry trends, and advice for aspiring professionals. Networking events, conferences, and online platforms like LinkedIn can also facilitate meaningful connections and expand your professional network.

6️⃣ Remote Internships or Virtual Projects: While traditional internships may be scarce, many companies offer remote internship opportunities or virtual projects that students can participate in from anywhere. Keep an eye out for companies or organizations that are open to remote collaboration and inquire about potential internship or project-based roles. Remote internships offer flexibility, allowing students to gain valuable experience, contribute to meaningful projects, and make professional connections without the constraints of geographical location.

7️⃣ Content Creation and Personal Branding: Establishing a strong online presence and personal brand is increasingly important in today's competitive job market. Students can use the summer break to create content, build their online portfolio, and enhance their digital footprint. Whether it's writing blog posts, sharing industry insights on social media, or creating professional videos, cultivating a compelling personal brand can help students stand out to potential employers and demonstrate their expertise and passion in their chosen field.

8️⃣ Part-time Jobs or Entrepreneurial Ventures: Taking on part-time employment or starting a small business venture can provide valuable hands-on experience and financial independence. Whether it's working retail, tutoring students, or launching a side hustle selling handmade crafts, part-time jobs and entrepreneurial endeavors teach students important skills such as time management, customer service, and business acumen. These experiences demonstrate initiative, resilience, and adaptability – qualities that are highly valued in the professional world.

9️⃣ Research and Academic Projects: For students passionate about academic pursuits, the summer break offers an opportunity to engage in research projects or independent study. Collaborate with faculty members or research mentors on topics of interest, conduct experiments, analyze data, and contribute to scholarly publications or presentations. Engaging in research not only deepens your understanding of your field but also enhances critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills – qualities that are transferable to any career path.

🔟 Self-care and Personal Development: Last but certainly not least, don't underestimate the importance of self-care and personal development. Use the summer break to prioritize your mental health, physical well-being, and overall happiness. Practice mindfulness, engage in hobbies and activities that bring you joy, and take time to recharge and rejuvenate. Investing in self-care not only enhances your quality of life but also improves your resilience, productivity, and ability to thrive in both academic and professional settings.

Internships aren't the only avenue for career development and growth. College students without summer internships can still make the most of their break by pursuing alternative opportunities that align with their interests, goals, and values to invest in your personal and professional development during the summer. Embrace the opportunity to explore new paths, cultivate valuable skills, and pave the way for future success. After all, the journey to a fulfilling and rewarding career is not always linear, but it's the experiences and opportunities along the way that shape us into the professionals we aspire to be.