How to Spend Your Summer

How to Spend Your Summer

How do I spend my Summer? 

First year flies by fast. Your late nights with friends in the quad, adventures throughout the city, and first-year seminar classes flash by in a blink of an eye. When summer approaches, you are faced with what can seem like a taunting question to some - how do I spend my first college summer? Should I go home? Do I need an internship? Can I spend time abroad? This post will give some insight for how you may want to spend your first-year summer. 

Before we get into that, however, let’s go over some tips about those summer plans. 

Summer Planning Tips

  1. Start early! You definitely do not want to be stressing about your summer during the school year, and planning ahead can relieve unwanted anxiety when May draws near.  Plus, if you start early, you won’t be toiling over applications when midterms and finals roll around! If you are set on having a summer internship, keep in mind some application deadlines fall quite early second semester. 

P.S. You will likely need to have some letters of recommendation arranged so ask your

professors/mentors in advance. 

  1. Reflect on what you want your summer to look like. Summer is supposed to be fun, and finding an internship may feel like unwanted pressure. Don’t fret! There is no “right” way to spend your summer, it’s all up to you! If you know you need some months to unwind and sleep in your own bed - do that. Self-care summer is always a way to go. 

  2. Use your resources. Visiting Beyond Barnard can be very helpful when applying to summer jobs and internships. Do not hesitate to have your resume or cover letter checked over, because they often give feedback that can help you land that job! Furthermore, Beyond Barnard’s online platform, “HandShake” is great for finding options wherever you would like to work whether it be NYC, your hometown, or any other city throughout the world.

Now onto your summer options:

Work at Barnard! 

If you desire to stay in the city during the summer, and love Barnard’s campus too much to leave, there are many on campus job options for you. Right now, I am working as a summer admissions intern in which I get to learn more about the office, explore my college even deeper, and have lots of free time to adventure throughout the city. Personally, I was a bit nervous to immediately work an internship at a new company in New York City as a first year. The application process can be intimidating, and sometimes outside internships are looking for upperclassmen. Working an internship at Barnard has allowed me to apply my own skills, while learning so many new ones in an environment I am already comfortable in. I think a summer job or internship at Barnard is a great way to start bridging the gap between student and working professional. 

Study (or Intern) Abroad! 

If you are itching to travel this summer, studying abroad can be an amazing way to see new places and take interesting courses. Both Barnard and Columbia offer lots of summer study abroad options available to you. Some examples of these are “The Vienna Experience,” “Dance in Paris,” or “Columbia Summer in Bejing.” There are also options in getting these programs subsidized through scholarships and grants offered by Barnard and Columbia. If you are hesitant about spending a full semester abroad in the future, a summer abroad gives you the ability to study somewhere new for a bit shorter time frame. What if you want to travel AND get some hands on work experience? You got it! Beyond Barnard even has grants set up for students interning abroad if you find an internship that happens to be unpaid. 

Visit Home! 

Again, this is probably the most important option to remember and to never discount! After your first year of college, you need to take a second and pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments, and get some time to sleep in that comfy bed back home. Some Barnard students enjoy using the summertime to visit family and friends or  work a job back home, and play with their extremely missed pets. Don’t put pressure on yourself to find an internship or job in New York City if you would rather be back in your hometown. You have plenty of time to explore Manhattan in the next three years!

Summer Internships 

This option is probably one you’ve heard most often, and many Barnard students do take advantage of summer internship opportunities. Again, Beyond Barnard is your go-to resource when on the hunt for a job. Whether it be non-profit work, finance, education, performing arts or any other career field you are interested in, HandShake has internship listings for you. However, it’s important to remember some companies aren’t the most ~timely~ on checking applications sent directly through HandShake, so sometimes it is worthwhile to take the time and press on the website links to apply directly through the companies’ application portal. When you are finally accepted into your dream internship - remember your time is valuable! Make sure to apply for Barnard grants to fund any unpaid internship. 

Research Opportunities 

Just one perk of being a Barnard student is the myriad of research opportunities at your fingertips. If you are a student majoring in or interested in a science, Barnard’s Summer Research Institute may just be the best summer option for you. SRI is a ten-week summer program in which students conduct research here at Barnard with a faculty member in scientific fields such as Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Neuroscience, and Psychology. Students receive a grant as well as subsidized housing over the summer, and the 10 weeks culminate with a capstone poster session. SRI is a chance for students to gain hands on experience, attend panel sessions and discussions, and even be part of published research during their undergraduate experience. There are also research options in other areas of study, for example, the anthropology department hosts a summer program in which students conduct field work in New Mexico. 

Barnard Babysitting

Barnard Babysitting is one unique student employment option offered during the school year that can be extended into the summer. Barnard Babysitting is a program in which families from around the city ask specifically for a Barnard student to be their children’s babysitter. Families often look for babysitters or nannies throughout the summer time for either a consistent schedule or just particular dates. Babysitting is a great way to meet families throughout the city, and you can even enjoy the summer weather when bringing kids to the park or throughout the city. Further, if you already have an internship or job over the summer, evening babysitting can be another great way to earn some extra cash. 

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