Avoiding the Summer Snoozefest

Summer is a time for Instagram at the beach, music festivals, mimosas at brunch and short shorts abound.

OR it’s a time for Tumblr in your bed with the blinds closed and gummy worms for breakfast because your bank account is a little too low to actually do any of the aforementioned. Or maybe you simply just lack the willpower to get yourself out of the apartment.

We have three weeks left of the semester and a whole summer ahead of us. So how can you make sure that the thrill of endless time doesn’t die down two weeks in? Well, I’ve come with some ideas for you…

  1. Internships! Never underestimate the power of the internship. Especially a summer internship. You’re not in school and swamped with homework, you’re not trekking through the worst of the wind and probably not snow )although there is really no telling with the weather we’ve had), and it also gives you great experience in something that you enjoy. Plus, if you’re lucky, you may even find something that’s paid or gives you school credit. You can always look on ColumbiaWorks under “Job Search”, with “Position Type” listed as “Internship”. But if that proves futile, a couple of other resources are either the Chicago Artist Resource or Internships.com. But start looking now! Those can fill up pretty fast.
  2. Get a job! Old faithful, the good ole summer job. There are seasonal jobs, like being a lifeguard or, every once in a while, there’s a position at Navy Pier. Or maybe be a camp counselor! (Pro-tip: I was an overnight camp counselor and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, I highly recommend it.) You could always look around for nanny jobs, since kids are out of school but the adults still have a desk job. Or maybe a job walking cute dogs. There are tons of options, and this will get you the money you need to go see R. Kelly at Pitchfork because really, who’s not desperately anticipating seeing R. Kelly at Pitchfork… Of course you could always…
  3. Volunteer your heart out! Even though it won’t stuff your pockets with frozen yogurt spending cash, the infectious smile it’ll plant on your face is just as good. Once again, you could search for “Position Type” under “Volunteer” on ColumbiaWorks, or even just ask around. There are so many great organizations around the city that always need volunteers. Inspire and be inspired by the amazing people at places like Chicago Dream Center or Center on Halsted. Get some puppy love at PAWS Chicago. Donate blood, do the Color Run with a group of friends, or even just do a quick Google search. There’s always an opportunity to volunteer.
  4. Summer Networking! Go to art galleries. Go to film festivals. Go to dance performances. Go to small concerts that you might not like but are cheap and in the city. Go explore your industry with all of this free time. You never know who you might run into. And even if you don’t run into anybody and spark a conversation at one event, maybe you will at the next one and you can tell them all that you’ve seen, the perspective you’ve gained, the trends you’re noticing. And maybe they’ll think, “Wow, this person is dedicated!” or even “Wow. I have to step my game up.” or maybe they’ll want to collaborate and you spend your summer working on an idea for a show to set up once you return to campus in the fall. No matter the case, it will be better for your spirit and your energy and your career if you get yourself in the sun, broaden your perspective, and peel away from the computer for a second.

It’s not just limited to this, of course. There are opportunities abound. Let us know what your plans are for the summer! I’ll be in Florence studying my heart out with other Columbia cats, and it couldn’t come sooner.

Just remember, three weeks. Just three weeks. Keep pushing, keep making an effort, all this work will pay off once it’s in your portfolio looking shiny and professional.

Until next time…