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Maximize Your Summer Experience

Now that your first year is over, you are probably deep in the throws of your summer experience.  You may be enrolled in summer school, working an internship, participating in a summer program, or performing service.  Here are some tips for the latter 3.

One you have confirmed the dates of your summer employment – you should have received some type of offer letter or email from your employer – and whether housing is provided or you have to secure it on your own, send an email to your manager or direct supervisor to share with them your excitement for the opportunity to learn about their company or program.

Go in prepared to learn.  This is self-explanatory if you are taking classes.  In other contexts/scenarios, have an open mind.  As a freshman with limited knowledge, you may not be assigned a lot or an in-depth process, but you can commit to growing while you are there.  Do your job well and as you perform it well, be inquisitive about other functions/jobs/responsibilities.  State your desire to learn/do more and ask for more responsibilities, only after you have mastered your initial assignment.

Dress the part. This doesn’t apply as much to summer school students, although you don’t want to look slovenly, you will probably be more casually dressed than an intern or summer worker. In other situation, it is a good idea to inquire about the dress code prior to relocating to your summer gig.  If you don’t know, begin with business casual then adapt to your work environment once you become more familiar.  Confirm that your attire is not too flashy or in any way inappropriate (no graphic tees, strappy tops, short skirts, etc.)  You don’t want your attire to distract from the work you’re doing.  If you don’t have any business casual clothes, begin with khakis (maybe jeans in some environments) and polo shirts.  Begin building your basic business casual wardrobe now, but there is no need to spend a lot of money.

Enjoy yourself. If you are in a new city for a research program, internships, or volunteer opportunity, take it all in.  Sightsee, have a few new experiences (festivals, cultural centers, nightlife, etc.). Mingle with other program participants or interns, keeping your interactions as socially acceptable as possible.  Take day trips on the weekend to nearby towns.  If you don’t have a car, take the train or Bolt/MegaBus. Do things other that what you may be used to at home or your university.  Stretch your boundaries.

All in all, maximize your summer experience in every way – academically, professionally, personally, and socially.



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