Scheduling windows are now open for the Spring semester, and maybe you’re also thinking about what your moves are going to be after Spring 2020. If you’re anything like my first-year self, you might not be itching to go immediately back to your hometown just yet. You may have realized just how many summer opportunities have piqued your interest.
Perhaps you want to study abroad, get an internship, or get some resume-worthy work experience and make some money. Whatever you want to do, the process for many summer 2020 opportunities looks similar and can begin as early as November 2019. No matter whether you know exactly what you want to do, or you’re completely clueless like I was, let’s break down 4 tips to be booked and busy on a budget this summer.
Get informed about what’s out there
There are people at this university who are getting paid to help you chase your bag! The Office of International Affairs hosts info sessions for every study abroad offered at Ohio State, including Global May programs which depart and return in the month of May (great if you have commitments during June and July). Additionally, the Honors and Scholars Center has a whole department dedicated to to helping Ohio State students land competitive government-funded fellowships, like the Critical Language Scholarship, the Truman Scholarship, and others. (The website is on the Honors and Scholars page, but these programs are open to all students!) For internships and summer jobs in Columbus, try looking on the Student Financial Aid job board or asking upperclassmen who have pursued opportunities similar to what you want to do, especially on-campus summer roles like being a Peer Leader, University Ambassador, etc. Get informed. Explore and see what’s out there. Google is free!
Build, Don’t Force a Network:
Remember when your Peer Leader told you to go to office hours? This is part of the reason why. In one-on-one situations (including, but not only office hours), you can build relationships with people like TAs, professors, and work supervisors. Relationships with these people are important so that when you need letters of recommendation, they will have your back. My Acting class TA wrote for me my first letter of recommendation. While he only taught a GE course, we had a great relationship, so he knew me enough to write a unique and personal letter. Do your best to make a real connection instead of forcing one to happen. If you don’t have anyone who you would feel comfortable with asking for a recommendation letter yet, there’s no time like the present to start! My networking pro-tip if you don’t know what to say is to ask them about themselves. The best question: How did they get to this phase of their careers? If the two of you truly ~vibe~ then you’ll have someone who will want to help you when you need it.
Ask, and You Shall Receive
Almost every application will require some sort of essay, personal statement, or resume. Program coordinators and upperclassmen who have pursued the same opportunity that you’re interested in will be able to get you the best scoop on how to make yourself look appealing on paper. They’ve done it before, so they’re the experts! Ask them all the questions, have them read your essays, and get all the help that you can while working on your applications for jobs, scholarships, and fellowships. To become a Peer Leader, I had not just one, but two past Peer Leaders review my essays. Though it took some time and effort – guess who got the job? The Writing Center also offers online and in-person resume writing, personal statement editing, and essay support. Take advantage of the resources you’re paying for already!
Finally, Get the Bag
Now, all you have to do is submit your application. However it wouldn’t hurt to get a little extra cash for your next adventure. This may mean applying for the Special Scholarships Application to save money during the school year, or to apply for scholarships offered for research, living costs during internships, and study abroad. The Office of International Affairs website is where you can find a master list to dozens of Ohio State-only scholarships to help fund your experiences.
Finding gratifying summer experiences is daunting. My goal is to help you achieve your goals without breaking the bank. I hope you all have wonderful, fulfilling, and amazing summer experiences while going and chasing your dreams (while still on a budget). Happy travels!