Planning a Meaningful Sophomore Summer
As you discovered last year, your college summers present you with a unique opportunity: a looong period of time - perhaps as much as fifteen weeks or, in other words, the equivalent of an entire school semester - away from academics. And we hope that last year you learned just how much, in terms of your goals, wants, needs, and desires, can be accomplished in this period of time.
What are you going to do with this incredible opportunity this summer?
Welcome to your sophomore summer brainstorming workshop - where you're going to come up with the antidote to a long, boring summer spent scooping ice cream at your local high school hangout, waitressing at the same club or restaurant where you worked when you were in high school, or otherwise doing the exact same things you did in the past.
Review Your Goals For Sophomore Year
The first thing you need to do is take a look at the work you did in your sophomore year goal-setting workshop and, if you followed our suggestions, at the eighteen or so "most important" goals you set for this year.
What did you identify as the things you hoped to accomplish during your sophomore year? How many of them have you actually accomplished so far? Which ones might be things you could work on this summer?
Yeah, yeah . . . we know that you're spending money like water in college and that even more than you did last summer, you really, really, really need to make money this summer. So did we. Yet despite these increasing financial pressures (which will be even worse next year - trust us), some of us figured out how to make money in really fun and interesting ways or in ways that furthered our academic, social, personal, or career goals (or a combination of these). You really can do both at the same time. Many of us did.
Explore Your Academic Interests
What have you learned about your academic interests this year? Chances are, you chose a major this year. Are there possible careers you might want to explore this summer? For example, if you chose to major in poli sci with an eye on working for a policy think tank, getting into politics, or applying to law school sometime after graduation, might there be something you could do this summer that would further illuminate that career path? Could you intern for a senator or member of Congress in Washington, D.C., doing research, shaping policy decisions, writing policy memoranda, or answering constituent letters and phone calls? Paid jobs are available doing such things, but even if you had to volunteer, you could further your career goals by doing so and then work part-time doing whatever to pay the bills. Even if all you do is deskwork, you will be making important contacts and spending your time in furtherance of your interests and goals.
If you chose a major, do you know of a particular professor in that major whose work sounds interesting to you? Maybe someone with whom you might someday take an independent study, or whom you might use as your senior thesis adviser? Is this person hiring a research assistant for the summer? Even if he or she isn't, there might be other professors in the department who have books coming out or important articles in process that need research help. Again, this is a great way to forward your goals and interests while making money at the same time.
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