You thought that everything was set. You planned on landing a killer internship that would look great on your resume. Instead, you are left in despair after a blunt e-mail that tells you that you did not get the spot.
So, if your summer plans have not panned out or you have yet to make any plans, fret not. Not everything that you do has to be directly relevant to your future career path. A diversity of interests is important in shaping a well-rounded individual, and a change in summer plans can be an opportunity for productive self-growth.
No matter what field you are planning on going into, there is always room to improve your skill set. Computer programming is important in many areas, and if it is of interest to you, it could make for an enlightening summer. You might find yourself formulating ideas for a new app. Alternatively, you may want to pick up a second (or third) language. Multilingualism is often an invaluable skill that can advance your standing with an employer. Many community colleges offer summer language courses at cheap prices.
Take a class
A summer without an internship may be the perfect opportunity to work on getting through your core or to take a prerequisite for another course you hope to take. If you are in the Boston area, it is easy to take a class through BC, and there are even offerings for classes abroad.
Start a blog
Blogs are a great way to demonstrate your passions and strengths. They can highlight creativity, good writing, organization, and ambition. If you are a sports fanatic, start a sports blog. See if you can explore new angles and gain followers. If you are obsessed with clothes, try a fashion blog. As an artist or a poet, you can feature your own images or writing. Blogs can be recreational or professional and show motivation as well as interest.
Many organizations offer summer positions and are always open to new volunteers. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience, meet new people and support your community. Of course, you won't be earning money, but volunteering can leave you in good spirits and complement an average summer job.
Do something for charity
There are also many summer opportunities to get involved in charity events. Hone your organizational skills by organizing a restaurant fundraiser night or a charity walk. It might be a big undertaking but it is certainly a rewarding way to spend your time out of your summer. You could also sign up for something that is already organized such as a running trek or a bike ride.
While you may not have opted for a formal, eight week internship, shadowing can be an instructional opportunity with less commitment and application requirements. Many people in your community or dream city can be great mentors and expose you to your desired field. Shadowing also allows you to take a chance exploring a new field. Engineering, medicine, business, teaching, etc. all offer opportunities to learn both new and old techniques.
This could be one of your last summers with the time and opportunity to travel before you settle down into a career. A road trip, a backpacking trip or some time on the beach can do you some good. You do not have to embark on an adventure to circumnavigate the globe or visit every continent, but small visits to see more of America can really keep things in perspective and increase your knowledge.
Most importantly, enjoy it
Summer is the time when you are supposed to decompress from school and seize the free time to have some fun. Take a break and unwind. Get certified in scuba diving, take flying lessons or learn how to sculpt. Make memories and hang out with friends. Most people won't always have a summer vacation, so enjoy it while you do.