Peer Adviser Post: Finding Your Summer Experience

Finding Your Summer Experience
By Benjamin Frieling SEAS ‘14


 

 

 

Feeling left out after hearing about classmates attend interview after interview for the world of finance in February? Applied to tons of openings online and haven’t heard back yet from a single one? Just have no idea what to do, since you have not declared or even decided on a major yet?

It’s OK – join the crowd and be sure to drop by this Friday, 4/5, from 12-1 PM in Lerner 401 on “How to Make the Most Out of Your Summer”. The entire spectrum, from study abroad to fellowships to internships to research to volunteering, will be covered by a panel of CSA Peer Advisors. There will plenty of time for questions as well as free snacks from Havana Central to boot !

But for now, let’s break down into what is commonly done per year of attendance:

1. Current First-Years / Rising Sophomores – “The World is Your Oyster”
Since it is not possible to declare yet and most likely, you haven’t figured out your major – feel free to do anything you would like to. Don’t (always) give into the urge to intern in your field right away – do something creative yet somewhat interrelated. For example, even pre-meds can take part in a volunteering opportunity, and not feel obligated to shadow a doctor or work at a hospital. By all means, if you have a passion for your intended major/career, do follow it. Study abroad during this summer is possible (easier if not language-based) and good timing as well if you want to intern in future summers at home or in NYC. Continuation of a job at a camp or at a local business that you worked at last summer shows commitment and is another effective choice.

2. Current Sophomores / Rising Juniors – “Starting Honing In”
Now that you have declared a major (at least a tentative one for CC) and taken several relevant classes, try to grab an opportunity in a possible future career. Research on-campus with a professor you just took an interesting class or off-campus in another school/institution’s lab in that topic of choice, or begin pursuing an internship in that field. Don’t be too worried if the ideal job doesn’t work out – it is an extremely tough market for interns, even for rising seniors ! Try the public or non-profit sector – it usually is a bit easier to attain, since they are unpaid. However, the funding gap can be covered by fellowships – just be sure to apply for them early on in the year. Volunteering is certainly a great option, but do try to loop it into your field of interest. Overall, be sure to do something with that summer; at worst, you’ll know what you don’t want to do.

3. Current Juniors / Rising Seniors – “On-Target”
This is the big one – the true summer that will decide whether you love your future job or hate it. Just kidding. Although it is rather important to attain a relevant position in your major/career path at this stage, it is not make-or-break. Try hard via online applications, CCE, professors, and most of all - personnel and professional networking to get the interview and hopefully the job/research. Keep your feelers out and your eyes peeled over the next month as companies finally figure out their summer workload and only now will reach out to hire interns. This is especially true for internships with less-formal programs (i.e. much of the engineering sector). Feel free to directly contact the HR department or [better yet] a specific employee working on a project or in a department that you want to pursue, and ask either for an informational interview or even if the company has any internships available. You’d be surprised how far a query and persistence will go.

4. Current Seniors / Graduates – “Full-time or Pre-Grad School”
By this point, you hopefully have your next year plan worked out, but if not – don’t be too stunned if a summer internship turns into an offer for full-time employment. {Disclaimer: This is very sector-dependent and is by no means a given; inquire if unsure.} If you’re already set to head off to grad school, take a breather for a bit. If not, look further into research or volunteering as alternatives for the next year, if full-time employment does not work out.

If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at: csapeeradvising@columbia.edu


Stressed about classes? Confused about internship-hunting? Just need someone to talk to?

Ask the CSA Peer Advisers!
 

Mondays:
2:30pm - 4:00pm (CSA, 403 Lerner)
6:00pm - 8:00pm (CSA, 403 Lerner)

Tuesdays:
2:30pm - 4:00pm (CSA, 403 Lerner)

Wednesdays:
2:30pm - 4:00pm (CSA, 403 Lerner)

Thursdays:
2:00pm - 4:00pm (Lerner Ramps)



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