Ways SCU Students Spend their Summer
With just around 100 days of summer vacation *cue the Phineas and Ferb theme song*, there is plenty of time to be productive while also enjoying your time away from school. Here are a couple of ways Santa Clara students spend their summers, and how you can spend yours over the next four years:
SCU offers a wide array of summer classes including core-curriculum requirements and school-specific courses. These classes are also held in three separate sessions throughout the summer in order to accommodate any plans students may have (like that two-week trip to Bali you can’t wait to go on). Lastly, each session runs for a different length of time, based on your learning style and preferences. If you consider yourself a fast learner, you can whiz through a 5-week course and then spend the rest of your summer relaxing or working a job. On the other hand, if you want to really spend the time to absorb the material and come into fall prepared for sequential courses, you can take a 10-week course (just like a regular quarter).
One of my friends took two summer courses last summer to finish fulfilling his Economics requirement and his second-language requirement: Econ 3 and Spanish 2. Both classes were only 5-weeks long so as you can imagine, they were quite fast-paced. That being said, if you are interested in graduating early or feel comfortable enough in certain subject areas to move quickly through them, we definitely recommend taking them over the summer. As of this year, there are options to take many classes online if you plan on traveling and would still like to participate. We recommend not to take classes that are important to your major during the summer because it is much more beneficial to learn in a classroom setting and dive deeper into the topic. Overall, taking classes over the summer will allow you to come back into school ahead of the curve while also having plenty of time to yourself!
Many of you high school seniors might be coming into college with the notion that summers are meant for internships. This is only half true. While some students may have internships during their freshman and sophomore years, internships become more popular during a student’s junior year. Regardless of when students choose to get an internship, and regardless of major, 80% will have one by the time they graduate.
Keep in mind that if you are interested in doing an internship, there are numerous ways to do one. There is, of course, probably what you’re most familiar with: a formal internship where you would spend about 12 weeks working at a company (virtually or in-person). Besides this option, there are many other ways to get work experience if you aren’t keen on committing your summer to a formal internship. The Career Center at SCU also provides students with staff and peer counselors that do mock interviews, take professional headshots and help you look for internships 1:1.
Student startups: One great way to get experience that’ll prepare you for your bigger internship roles is working for student startups. At a school like SCU, students are constantly coming up with innovative ideas and building their businesses from the ground up. If you come across someone in your network who’s building something you are interested in, reach out! I’ve been able to work for three student startups throughout my freshman year, and I got two of them just by networking with people on LinkedIn. Keep in mind that many of these internships probably won’t pay you starting out, but the experience will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Freelance: This is another easy and flexible way to make money while improving on what you’re already good at. Freelancing is essentially selling your services to people who may be building their own businesses and can be done completely virtually. Websites like Upwork and Pangea are great places to share your talents and find work, whether it be coding websites or marketing a new product.
I’ve looked forward to studying abroad in college before I even started applying to colleges, to begin with. Studying internationally can truly be a life-changing experience for students, as you get to immerse yourself in a new culture and surround yourself with new people. SCU offers a wide variety of opportunities based on your interests, and you’ll find that summer is the optimal time to go abroad as it is generally the least competitive. Many of my upperclassmen friends have studied abroad, and I’ve heard amazing stories about their time in Scotland or Spain, learning during the day and exploring the country at night. SCU also offers internship opportunities abroad if you are interested in working for an international company and earning a salary. As I mentioned earlier, many students have internships over the summer and therefore choose not to study abroad, but what better way to get the best of both worlds than to have an internship abroad? There are so many resources provided by the school that will help you get to your dream destination, from study abroad newsletters to numerous panels and info sessions hosted by the program. There are also many financial aid and scholarship opportunities to ensure that the program is affordable and fits your every need. Overall, studying or interning abroad is a very fun and productive way to spend your summer.
Last but definitely not least, many students take a much-needed vacation. Going on vacation doesn’t always mean lounging around 24/7 (although that does sound nice). There are many ways to make money or gain experience while you’re on vacation. This summer, I’ll be spending June through August abroad in India! While I am of course going to spend time with my relatives and travel the country, I still plan on working. I joined a few startups throughout my freshman year and will continue to do marketing for them throughout the summer (a great way to get paid!). As I mentioned above, freelancing is a great way to make money from anywhere in the world and that is something I hope to pursue as well. The great thing about all of these roles is that they are incredibly flexible and I know that I can take time off to spend time with family whenever I want to. Remember that you are your number one priority, so if you’re feeling burnt out after a long senior year, give your mind a break and go on a relaxing vacation. If you want to come into college with lots of money in your pocket, pursue a job or internship. Or if you want to do a little bit of both like me, find your balance!
Have a wonderful summer everyone, can’t wait to see you on campus soon!