EducationSkills

The fall semester looms near. Did your pack your things? Make your schedule? Say goodbye to your summer flip flops? The end of August is a time of change, and for some students, this may mean starting a part­-time job for the first time. Now, I know it’s hectic to move into your dorm, prep for classes, and adjust to the back-­to-­school mentality, but now is the time to start hunting for part-­time jobs for the fall semester.

Here are four things to keep in mind:

1. School vs. Job

School comes first. But your job pays for school. But school comes first. This has gone through your head before, hasn’t it? If you’re like me, you work part-time during the semester to pay for textbooks, supplies, and tuition. Some students pay for their groceries and bills and rent. Whatever your situation, it’s important to understand your own limit and be able to balance that midterm paper on ancient Greek epics or the midnight shift in the student labs.

Everybody has their own pace. Some students may find the workload heavy, especially if they’re new students or thesis-­stressed seniors. Consider these things when you’re deciding if you want to work or not.

2. Paperwork

Since you’re working, you might want to get some things together. Before leaving mom or dad, get your personal information from them. Many jobs require identification, so get a state ID or an unexpired driver’s license from the DMV. At the end of the year, you’ll get some papers about taxes, which you might give to your parents so they can file their taxes. Don’t throw these papers out or lose them! You should provide accurate data because that tax info is the same info you’ll need for your FASFA (that sounds familiar right?). When in doubt, keep it, and ask your university’s finance or career office.

3. Where To Work

In the school library? In the labs? In the bakery, the clothing store, the modeling agency? Things to consider about your job is how it would work with your schedule. Because colleges can have pretty irregular hours, it may be hard to find someone who would take you from 3­-9pm one day, and 7am-­4pm the next. Keep in mind that university jobs tend to go to students who are in financial need, and departmental jobs look for students who are reliable in their major and may not depend on financial need. For example, I don’t get first dibs at the library, but I managed to find work in the photography lab. See the difference? Find what suits you, and don’t be afraid to ask around your school. Jobs as an assistant, teacher’s assistant, archivist, or anything else may be found in unexpected places.

4. Start Hunting!

Since people are going back to school, they’ll be quitting their jobs. Someone going from New York to California may drop one job in the Big Apple only to pick up another job in San Diego. Imagine all of the college students who are doing this (possibly including you!). The next few weeks are the perfect time to find jobs, especially in school (since the semester is starting again).

Each semester is a chance for a new beginning, to try something new or to redo something from before. Getting a job may be scary and stressful, but you’ll never know what you’ll get if you don’t try! Good luck!

Image: Tobias Mikkelsen, Flickr

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

As huge jazz fans, we are so impressed with Jazz musician and trumpet player Alex Owen. After graduating from Connecticut College, Alex moved to New Orleans to work with a non-profit geared toward ending housing discrimination in Louisiana. He eventually started a band called the Messy Cookers – aptly named after his own sloppy cooking technique – and they’ve been playing together ever since. Although he now loves music and plays jazz for a living, Alex shares his advice on why never closing doors on opportunities, even at a young age, can lead you to your passion down the line. We are excited to introduce Alex Owen!

Name: Alex Owen
Age: 24
Education: BA in International Relations and Hispanic Studies from Connecticut College, High School Columbia Prep.
Follow: Facebook

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

I would define it as going out and doing what you love. I don’t think there is an age limit, or minimum, to trying to make your dream happen. When I hear the term “seizing your youth,” I think of having the opportunity to try things out and see what happens. Sometimes it’s a risk, but if you don’t take those risks now, then when will you?

What did you major in at Connecticut College and how did you determine what to study?

At Connecticut College I majored in International Relations and Hispanic Studies, and I minored in Music. I also was part of the CISLA program. I picked my majors just based on what classes I wanted to take. I had studied Spanish in high school and I wanted to continue to learn the language and become proficient, and I really liked the interdisciplinary focus of the IR major. It just seemed that the majors seemed to fit what I wanted to study. Of course, I wanted to play music as well, so the minor just seemed to fit what I was interested in.

What or who inspired you to become a jazz musician?

I think what inspired me was really just to follow my passion. I don’t think I ever sat down and thought, “I want to be a jazz musician.” I loved playing traditional jazz music at Connecticut College where I first discovered this music, and I also loved being in the jazz ensemble. I wanted to move to New Orleans because I knew they had a great scene for traditional jazz, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity I was going to play.

When I moved to New Orleans, I actually was part of a fellowship program called AVODAH, where I spent a year working full-time at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, a non-profit working to end housing discrimination in Louisiana. It wasn’t until about mid-way through my first year that I started the Messy Cookers Jazz band and started to find gigs and get a little bit of work. I realized that I really loved the music, and while I also loved the work I was doing at the Fair Housing center, I really wanted to focus on getting better. It became apparent that if I wanted to gig more and get more work, it wouldn’t be feasible to work full time and try to focus on both things. After I started to get work, I decided that I could really be a jazz musician, and that’s when I decided to focus on it and teach music part time.

Tell me about your college bands The Endpiece and Funk the Police. How have those experiences shaped your current music?

Those were some really great bands to be a part of. When I look back at my college experience, some of the fondest memories I had were from those two bands. I think those experiences were incredibly helpful because they taught me so much about being in a band and what the dynamics are like. One thing I learned from being a musician is that it takes so much work to make the music great. You have to practice, you have to find different roles, and you have to learn how to create chemistry with your other band mates in order to make great music. I’ve found that in any style or genre of music, this is true.

You also have to be able to find common ground among different personalities. While I don’t play the style of music that those two bands played anymore, I still take what I learned from those bands about working together with other musicians to make great music, and it’s something I use every time I play with people today.

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How do you stay motivated on-stage night after night of performing?

It’s definitely tough to do this. It’s certainly easier when you are playing a crowded venue. The hard thing to do is really be on your game when it’s the third or fourth set and it’s a slow night. I think what makes some musicians truly great is that they play the same way whether there are 100 people in the place, or two people. I really try to focus on just making great music at all times and I try not to worry about the crowd. Obviously, I’m always paying attention to the crowd, especially when I’m the bandleader. But once we pick a song and we get into it, I try to block it out and just try to make great music. Ultimately, that’s the most gratifying thing, and it’s something that I could do every day for the rest of my life.

Where does your band name, Messy Cookers Jazz Band, come from?

Ha-ha, this is a pretty funny question. I was making a comment to myself the first year down here that when I was cooking, I made a pretty big mess. I lived on campus all four years of college, so I never really learned how to cook before I moved down to New Orleans. All of a sudden, I realized that I had to cook for myself, so I learned the basics and was able to get by. I guess my technique was still a little sloppy. I was cooking for my housemates one night and I made the comment about how I was a messy cooker. My roommate Jeremy was walking by, and he went “I think I just found your band name.” The name was just too good to pass up.

How does living in New Orleans inspire your music?

I think living here is great because to play the music I want to play, which is traditional New Orleans jazz, I’m able to learn from the best. There are great musicians still working all the time today, who themselves came up playing with and learning from some of the all-time greats. It’s really a privilege to be able to hear them play on almost any given day or night, and to occasionally have opportunities to play with them. I think hearing what they have to say, and listening to the way they approach the music, is key for me to also try and play this music. I try to utilize their advice in every gig I play.

What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned from being a musician?

There are a lot of good lessons I’ve learned. One is definitely how to take criticism and how to take rejection. Every musician is going to have self-doubt, get yelled at on a bandstand for making a mistake or not knowing a song, get fired from a gig, or get turned down for a gig. It’s very discouraging, but the best thing to do is trust in yourself and trust in your ability. I’ve found that during the tough times, trusting myself has allowed me to stay positive, remain focused, and continue to make great music.

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What is the biggest challenge with being a musician? The best part?

There are a few challenges with being a musician. I’d say one challenge being unsure know when your next paycheck will be coming in. Especially as someone that is new to town, I’ve gotten a lot of gigs last minute. Since I’m still trying to establish myself, I’m in a position where if I can make a gig, I take it. It’s definitely hard to adjust your schedule last minute. The schedule can also be grueling. Working nights can be really hard, especially since I teach during the day. You really have to alter your life schedule to fit your work. Sometimes this means trying to eat a big meal to last you the 4-5 hours you will be out since you don’t have access to food. Other times, this means trying to hang out with friends during the day because when they are free night, this is when I’m working.

On the flip side, the best part of being a musician is that it’s greatest job in the world! I get to make awesome music, something I would do anyway in my free time, and then I get paid for it. I’ve been fortunate to get work with some world-class musicians, which is an awesome experience. There are many nights when I can’t believe I’m sharing a bandstand with some of these people. It’s also gratifying when you can tell that you’ve touched people with your music.  When I’ve just spent a night making music that you know was great music, and people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed it, that really makes it gratifying.

Any tips for learning how to play an instrument?

The biggest tip I can give is to be patient. Something I tell my beginning band students all the time is that Louis Armstrong didn’t sound like Louis Armstrong when he first started playing. Music is like a totally new language; nobody just wakes up a genius. Everyone works at it and tries to make new strides. When you are learning a new instrument, take pride in whatever progress you make, however small, and focus on achieving each milestone. Eventually, before you even realize it, you will start sounding better and playing an instrument will become more fun.

How do you overcome self-doubt (or stage fright?)

Like learning an instrument, this comes with practice. The more gigs I play, the more confident I become in myself, and the easier it is to overcome stage fright. Stage fright, and self-doubt, is a part of being a performer, and is something that becomes easier with practice. Whenever I get nervous, I also try to remember that there is a reason I’m on the bandstand. If I’m a sideman, I try to focus on the fact that someone called me to play the gig with him or her, so I must be doing something right. As a bandleader, I try to remember that the venue likes us enough to hire us, and the people I’ve hired like playing with me enough to want to play with me, otherwise they would’ve said no.

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What advice do you have for youth who want to be professional musicians?

My advice is to go for it. If you feel it’s what you want to do, and it’s what you are most passionate about, then absolutely go for it and don’t hold back. People are definitely going to tell you that you can’t do it, or that it’s not stable, etc. These are things that almost all professional artists face at one point. If you are driven enough and determined enough, you can sustain the bumps in the road and make it happen. It’s also ok to take a part-time job or do something on the side to make ends meet, even if it’s not exactly the work you want to be doing. I’ve been lucky enough to find work teaching music, which is something I love and plan to pursue, but I know other musicians and other artists who’ve had all types of weird jobs not related to their art. As long as it doesn’t directly interfere with your art, I say there’s nothing wrong with getting a job to pay the bills.

What do you do when you’re not making music?

I really enjoy spending time outdoors. I’m fortunate that New Orleans has a temperate climate (other than the summer), which allows me to go running, spend time in parks, and generally do activities outside. I also spend time with my girlfriend, watch TV shows, and spend time with friends.

What does a day in your life look like?

Ha-ha, depends on the day! Usually my weekdays consist of teaching during the day. I have a little break in the afternoon, where I usually exercise and get other work done (the work never stops for musicians). If I have a gig that night I’ll eat an early dinner, warm up a little, prep for the gig, and head down early to set up. If not, I’ll either go to hear other bands and sit in, or just hang out and rest. The weekends are mostly about gigs. If I don’t have a daytime gig, I can run errands, hang out with friends, and then go to my gig later. However, some weekends I just spend it running from gig to gig. The great thing about being a musician is that no two days are the same!

What motivates you in your everyday life?

I always just try to be the best person I can be. Whether I’m playing music or not, I always try to be nice to others, to spend quality time with other people, and to be true to my craft.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

I would definitely tell myself that music isn’t dorky, that I should be pursuing it. I think at 15, I really was into sports, and not so much into music. Playing trumpet was more of a chore my parents made me do (and I’m glad they made me do it), and I wish I had treated it differently. I think a lot of this was that I didn’t realize how much fun playing was, and I didn’t think it was that cool.

Image: Hot Steamed Jazz Festival; all others from Alex Owen

Skills

You’ve been sending emails, organizing files, making excel sheets, running errands, and learning all summer. Whether it’s a fashion, photography, or finance internship, chances are you’ll be leaving soon. Sometimes it’s because you’re going back to university in another state, or maybe you’re taking 21 credits and you can’t fit it into your schedule. Maybe the internship wasn’t right for you but you wanted to at least give it a try. Either way, it’s time to say good­bye, and there are a few things you need to do beforehand.

1. Let your boss know.

Whether it’s a job or internship, it’s good to give a two weeks notice that you will be leaving the company. Make sure to write a formal letter and to give a verbal heads up. It’s bad to leave a gaping hole where you used to work, and this gives employers a chance to find someone to take over your responsibilities. This is a good chance to explain what you liked about the internship, and if you want to come back next summer you should mention it!

2. Attain contact information.

Get his number. Or her number. Or their numbers. Before you leave, make sure you have the email, LinkedIn, Facebook (if you so dare), or any other social media/contact info of people you worked with. You want to keep in contact with people who you want to remember. Just remember to contact them once every four months to say hi! You want to be able to maintain a good relationship, and who knows, they might help you out or vice versa in the future! This is also a good way to let others know you’re leaving so it won’t be awkward that you just disappeared.

3. Clean your workspace.

Once upon a summer, I was led to a bright desk on the top floor of an office building. The vibe was chill, the lighting was comfortable, and the desk, well, the desk was covered in dust, had hygiene products in the drawer, and lacked a functioning stapler. The former intern did not bother to bring her leftover peanut butter, half melted chocolate, or instant nail polish with her after she left. This isn’t very nice, and doesn’t reflect the respect and effort she could have put into her internship! Please, take your things with you, straighten out your desk, wipe things down, and leave it nice and welcoming for the next intern!

4. Work hard until the very end.

This is important! Even though you know you’ll be leaving in two weeks, you want to leave a good impression. Don’t lose steam! Have a final hurrah! Do your best and make it the best end of an internship. You’ll feel accomplished and your coworkers will appreciate it. Best of all, you’ll be motivated to have a good start for the semester. Who wouldn’t like that?

As the summer winds down, things will change. The weather, your closet, the internship, and the semester. Things will come and go, and we have to go along with that flow. I hope these tips can help you prep for this change, and that it is all smooth sailing from here.

Image: deathtostockphoto

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

It’s not every day that we see an illustration, design, or logo that makes us feel something. However, when we see Kate Harmer’s illustrations and designs, we are immediately inspired and moved.  Kate drew constantly when she was a little girl and she hasn’t stopped since. After following her passion and enrolling in Cornish College of the Arts, doing internships, getting job experience in design and illustration, and completing graduate school at Rhode Island School of Design, Kate launched her own design studio, Hum Creative, that focuses on creating and developing brands. More recently, Kate illustrated a fun book based on the popular Twitter feed @tweenhobo.

Kate is not only amazingly talented, but she is smart, kind, and thoughtful. We are encouraged by her self-starter attitude, work ethic, and of course, her creativity. Kate not only has the ability to draw and design, but she also knows how to build an incredible team of people with serious creative skills. Through determination, hard work, and learning how to grow a thicker skin, Kate has excelled in her field, and she generously shares the lessons she has learned during her journey. Read on to learn more about Kate Harmer, a true inspiration!

Name: Kate Harmer
Age: 32
Education: BFA in Illustration from Cornish College of the Arts; MFA in Design from Rhode Island School of Design
Follow: Twitter / Hum Creative / Instagram

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Kate Harmer: It’s common to hear successful people look back and say, “We were so young, we were so crazy, we were so brave!” They’re talking about times that were challenging, but they are able to look back and laugh. I try to remember that I’m in that time right now for my future self. Knowing that all of these things won’t seem as hard or scary once they’re done encourages me to take big risks.

Yes, I’m 32, but that’s super young! Someday I’ll hopefully laugh at my failures and be proud of having challenged myself. Both are positive outcomes. To me, seizing your youth is embracing that now is the time to be free and brave.

CJ: You received your BFA in Illustration from Cornish College of the Arts. How did you determine what to study?

KH: My career has been a process of elimination. When I was in high school I didn’t know what graphic design was. I just knew that I liked to draw and wanted to do something creative. I went to school for Illustration and worked as an Illustrator for a while. I tried to follow my passion in a broad sense, then tried lots of things to see what I enjoyed and to get more focused.

CJ: What sparked your love of illustration and design?

KH: As a kid I would sit in my bedroom for hours and draw fake advertisements for the commercials I heard on the radio. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was thinking like a graphic designer. I wasn’t super social, so drawing was a natural way for me to process the world and express myself.

Because I drew constantly, I had good foundation of skills by the time I was looking at colleges. I definitely think most things can be learned, but you have to put in the time.

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CJ: You also received your MFA in Design from Rhode Island School of Design. Why did you decide to go to graduate school, and would you recommend it?

KH: I went to graduate school to learn new skills and jump start the next phase of my career, which was more about design than illustration.

I would recommend graduate school, but only for people who are really ready for change and have fully explored on their own first. I don’t think graduate school is required to be successful, and some life experience first is key. You can create a condensed learning experience on your own, but some people need help. I needed grad school to push me.

Graduate school was both awful and great. The workload was almost unbearable at times, making it one of the toughest experiences of my life so far. It was a critically intensive, so I graduated with a much thicker skin. I also made amazing friends, learned a ton, and I felt empowered to do what I do now. It was a full, amazing experience.

CJ: You are the Principal and Creative Director at Hum Creative. What do your roles as Principal and Creative Director entail? 

KH: When I first started the company I was doing a bit of everything – designing, sweeping floors, and writing invoices. Now my role is to think about this entire company as a design project. I am responsible for our overall strategy and goals, getting the best team of people together, and directing the creative process. I also play on our kickball team.

CJ: Before Hum Creative, you were a designer at Starbucks Creative Group. What kinds of projects did you work on at Starbucks?

KH: I got to illustrate coffee bags, draw lots of little croissants and coffee mugs, and help design seasonal merchandise and packaging. I was fresh out of school and supported senior designers and creative directors with illustrative tasks that were needed to fulfill their vision.

I think about that job every day while building Hum Creative. When I was at Starbucks, it really felt like everyone was happy with their jobs and coworkers. A lot of what I learned there has stayed with me.

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CJ: You illustrated the book Tween Hobo, which is based on the popular Twitter feed @tweenhobo. What was that illustration process like?

KH: Alena Smith knows the Tween Hobo character so well. I flew down to LA to brainstorm initial ideas for the book with her, then worked remotely for the next few months. Alena sent me in-progress chapters every couple of weeks. I would read them and keep a running list of possible visuals. We would Skype to discuss and narrow them it down. Most of the process was brainstorming with Alena. I would sketch the illustrations in pencil first, and then once they looked good I drew over them in Sharpie.

CJ: What are the greatest lessons you have learned from being an illustrator and designer?

KH: Professional creatives need to be open to criticism and flexible to change, but they also must stand up for what they believe in – when it really matters. Grad school and client work has helped me grow a thicker skin and to understand that everyone’s input is valid. You can’t be too precious about your work – sometimes people won’t like it. That’s okay. Not all battles are worth fighting… when you do push back, it should mean something.

CJ: What is the best part about being a designer?

KH: The best part of designing for me was seeing my work out in the world, successfully doing its job. As a creative director, it is so fun to see this whole group make work that they’re proud of. Knowing they worked hard, made beautiful work, and enjoyed the process is hands down the best part about what I do.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

KH: My day involves a lot of time reading emails and meeting with our internal design teams to check in on projects moving through the studio. I also meet with clients often to present work and discuss feedback. Some days are spent on the set of photo shoots or visiting the printer for press-checks.

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CJ: What should a teenager or young adult who wants to be an illustrator and designer do to set themselves up for success?

KH: Make a lot of work. We look at a lot of portfolios here, and the people who really stand out have been making up their own projects and designing things on the side. Drew Hamlet, a Lead Designer at Hum, started an online radio station in high school and he designed the branding, website, and collateral for it. I’m very impressed by self-motivation. You learn so much by just being active in your field, even if it’s just practicing. Don’t wait for people to ask you to do something, just do it yourself.

It is also important to have a sense of the design community and what has come before you. Look at blogs, read design books, and absorb a design education as much as possible.

CJ: How do you like to spend your free time?

KH: I work long hours and am a homebody when they day is over. My husband and I love to cook and enjoy big dinners outside, then take our two French bulldogs on long walks.

CJ: What motivates you in your everyday life?

KH: Professionally, this team motivates me. The responsibility of having people who come to work in an environment that I make is both very intimidating and very inspiring.

My husband is very motivating and inspiring outside of work. He is a creative that has worked really hard since he was a teenager and he’s done well. He’s always wanting more and imagining fun things he can do. He’s constantly learning and dreaming. He’s a really good reminder to keep your mind open and active.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

KH: I’d tell myself to be braver sooner. It took me a little while to start realizing that taking risks almost always pay off in some way. It might not always be in the way you planned, but taking on challenges is the fastest way to grow.

Kate Harmer Qs

Travel

This is amazing! It’s your first summer in New York City. You’re here for pre­-college classes, checking out universities, taking summer courses, interning, working, or simply shopping, eating, and being a tourist. It’s the city that never sleeps, a place romanticized by movies and glorified by those who live here.

Well. Sort of. If you know anything about NYC, you know it has its rough patches. New Yorkers are known for their direct and fast paced attitudes, always rushing around stylishly but quickly. In the summer, the tempo of the city changes. Tourists flood in and some New Yorkers leave. But those who stay, like yours truly, are forced to weather through some of the not­-so-­pleasant things about being in NYC in the summer. These are a few things you should know before coming to New York City.

1. It is hot.

That explains everything. The grouchy taxi drivers. The simmering concrete. The wet sensation under your arms and the uncomfortable chill of the train if you’ve been sitting too long. NYC summers are hot. Commuting feels nasty. This year has been pretty tame, but usually the temperature hits triple digits. NYC summers are hit­-the­beach, break-­the-­fire­-hydrant, egg­-on-­the-­sidewalk hot. Advice: drink water, stay indoors or have indoor trips until 3pm­ish, and pack lightly. Mornings around 7-­9am and evenings around 6-­8pm are commuter hours and you don’t want to be stuck next to the sweaty businessman and a woman with her crying baby. I recommend that you do your summer intensives or other courses during a more relaxed time in case you have to lug supplies or textbooks around. If you insist on going outside, keep the heat in mind.

2. Watch out for mosquitoes.

Yes. Mosquitoes. Did you think that being in a city full of skyscrapers and asphalt would save you from those little monsters? You’re sadly mistaken. I sit here telling you to beware of the mosquitoes, but I have five bites on my legs just from walking to the grocery store. What’s so unique about NYC mosquitoes? They’re intense. My friend from the West coast says that they are nastier biters here than where she’s from, so be warned!

Even as a seasoned New Yorker, I haven’t overcome this itchy nightmare. It does not matter who you are or where you’re going. If you breathe and if you have blood, you’re going to be mosquito food. You can either simply accept that you’ll get bitten (as I have) or you can avoid going outside, especially at night. The crazy thing is they seem to be everywhere, even indoors and in the middle of the day. They cling to people’s clothing, and with all the moving around, it’s no wonder they are everywhere. There are bug sprays and lotions you can use to keep mosquitoes away, but there really isn’t an escape. Best of luck.

3. Avoid moving­-in nightmares.

If you’re a college student looking to live outside the dorms for the semester, you better find an apartment, and fast! Students who are coming back for fall are going to start moving, or moving back, and you want to make sure you find somewhere to stay during this rush. Start looking for places now and if you’re lucky, you’ll find something you like within your budget.

New York is a great place to spend the summer if you know your way around. Even if you don’t, you’ll get the hang of where you are and what trains to take quickly. There are a lot of things to do and see, and as long as you’re aware of how to take care of yourself, you will be just fine. Remember to stay hydrated and to take it easy. Enjoy the city, and make it a summer to remember!

Image: Unsplash

CultureInspiration

There it is. The middle of July has just passed (gasp!), and summer is in full blown effect. Instagram is loaded with friends going on vacation in France or drinking mimosas on the beach. When you aren’t shopping for your bikini top, you’re probably making money to buy one. If you aren’t looking up the cutest outfits for your summer office internship, you’re probably actually at it. But what if you’re in a slump? You only get as far as the interview, and your inbox has been gathering dust. Or maybe there’s personal stuff going on and making a decision like that is the last thing on your mind.

Hey. That’s okay.

This summer is for you. Your time to do what you need to do. Sometimes you need to slow down the pace before you can pick it back up, and sometimes what you’re looking for is right around the corner and you just have to get there, one step at a time. This summer is clay and you can take it in your hands and do whatever you want to it. You can mold your time to be slow and easy and relaxing, or design it to be fast-­paced and exciting. You don’t have to work or intern for it to be yours. There’s a world of things to do and and it’s waiting for you.

If you’re feeling envious of your friends abroad, make it a mission for yourself to explore your city and to get to know it as much as you can. Teach yourself a new language. Watch foreign films. Find a place where you’re comfortable and draw in a sketchbook your own world.

This summer is your space, your zone. Take it easy and work through what you need to work through. Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself and take care of yourself. If you’re not ready to take the world on just yet, then don’t. One step at a time. Take a walk around the block, then around the park, then the beach. Make yourself a small breakfast, then a healthy one, and eat it with satisfaction.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing, or what they’re saying, or what they’re thinking. Everybody goes at their own pace and so should you. Don’t worry if nothing is working out, soon it will. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re falling behind, you’re not. Don’t worry if you need time for yourself this summer, take it and it’s yours. Make this summer about being happy and healthy, and don’t worry about the rest.

Image: Unsplash

Skills

In this day and age, the job market is competitive. Getting the job of your dreams may require not just education, but also experience. If you don’t have time during the regular school year, working during the summer can be invaluable on your resume. Even if you don’t get the internship of your dreams, getting a job during the summer has its own rewards.

Here are the five benefits of having a summer job:

1. Learn New Skills

The learning never stops. No matter what odd job you have, you can put the skills you already have to use while gaining some new ones. You can be paid to learn something new! Even going through an interview is a learning experience. These new activities will be different than the normal school rigor and will give your brain a break as you try something different.

2. Meet New People

Chances are your jobs will force you to interact with people outside of your normal social groups. You can make new friends and gain people skills.

3. Even Part-Time Helps

If you want to travel and spend time with friends during your summer break, you will still have time to make an impression with a part-time job. You can make the most of your summer this way.

4. Earn Spending Money

When you do get the chance to go out with your friends or you want to treat yourself, you will now have the money to do so. Or you can save your earnings for something big, such as a trip.

5. Boost Your Resume

Having previous job experience shows that you are responsible, determined, and motivated. If you get a job in the field you plan on working in, you will begin gathering the building blocks you need to work in that industry in the future. Many of the better positions these days require prior experience. Having experience in the work force while you are still in school increases your chances of getting hired once you graduate.

Photo via australia.edu

EducationSkills

As the sunny season approaches many students translate the word “summer’ directly into “intern season.” The narrative surrounding the months of June to August is usually accompanied by questions like “Where are you interning?” and “Who are you working for?” The stress of feeling like you should have answers to these questions can be overwhelming. But the social and professional pressure to be part of this dialogue is – in my opinion – slightly ridiculous and highly unrealistic. Here are some logistical facts about being an intern:

  • Interning is expensive. On top of having to pay for housing fees, appropriate work attire, transportation, and food, interns typically work for a very small stipend or no money at all (or in some cases they have to work for school credit which can actually cost them additional academic fees). And these are just a few of major financial costs associated with being an intern.
  • Interning is time consuming. Whether you are a part-time or full-time intern, the tasks you are likely doing at this entry level, correlated to the amount of time you spend doing them, often don’t match up on at a quality to quantity comparison.
  • Interning is stressful (for the worst reasons). While I won’t deny altogether that professional growth is, in fact, an important and positive part of personal development, I will stand firm in saying that interning can often lead to copious amounts of unnecessary stress. Because so many people hold their internships up high like a shiny prize they have won, the atmosphere can be tense, uncomfortable, and entirely career-oriented. Rather than viewing internships as ways to learn new and interesting things about a specialty you might be interested in perusing, this dog-eat-dog environment tends to put more emphasis on whether or not a full time position will be offered at the end of it all.

Carpe wants to tell you “No internship? No problem.” In fact, you might be in a better position than your peers, and here’s why:

  • You aren’t bound to a formal time schedule. Without a permanent 7 am wake up time you are free to create a time structure that works best for your own personality and productivity. If you prefer to stay up late working on a personal project versus getting up before the sun rises, you have that option too.
  • You have flexibility when it comes to traveling. Summer is a wonderful time to travel and with a more flexible schedule you can plan a trip during off-peak seasons. That means you save money and can plan to visit friends or family at a time when they can actually host you.
  • You have time to explore a personal passion or interest. If you aren’t interning or working you should definitely be doing something productive on the personal side. Whether that includes writing, drawing, surfing, knitting, learning a new language; it’s up to you – the sky is the limit. This is the only time when all of your other responsibilities aren’t piled on your plate, so optimize every minute!
  • You get to take time for yourself. Sometimes the most important aspect of not having a formal internship is that you get to take time to be alone with yourself. You get to focus entirely on how are you doing mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is difficult to assess how the last year went if you move onto the next step too quickly. Taking time to really check-in an think about what makes sense going forward can really help bring you to the next phase of your life in a thoughtful and internally motived rather than hasty and pressured way.

Whatever you choose to do, do it to its fullest potential. You have the ability to make every day count, so whether you’re interning for your state representative or spending the summer in Cascade, Idaho backpacking and kayaking, invest fully and know that you’re doing just fine. In fact, you’re doing great.

 

What are you doing this summer? Let us know @CarpeJuvenis!

Image courtesy of Unsplash.