How To Be Productive During the Summer

By Jiaxin Karen Lu, Peer for Career, Starr Career Development Center

After tackling a series of final exams, here comes summer! College students love summer because they get three months of free time which they could use for vacation, socializing with friends, or catching up on any great movies and books that they have put off during the busy academic semester. Besides rewinding and relaxing your mind and body in summer, it is also important for us to realize that summer can be a productive period which we can utilize to prepare for the upcoming fall semester, such as by taking one or two summer classes, interning at a company you like, getting more well-rounded by reading news and books daily, and researching the companies you are likely to apply to in the fall.
If you have an internship in summer, make the most of it by being a diligent worker. In addition, writing internship diaries at the end of the day will aid in the learning process. In the internship diary, make sure you capture the main responsibility you have been assigned and make sure you know the steps of completing the important tasks. Make yourself available as much as possible at work, and let the supervisor know that you are accountable and responsible to them by regularly updating your current progress on any projects you do. Essentially, make repeated efforts to show that you are an asset to them by contributing to the department to the best of your ability.
Secondly, if you happen to be juggling a part time internship and summer classes, your time management and ability to prioritize will definitely come into play. Since classes are accelerated during the summer, you will have to be on top of the materials by constantly reviewing notes and reading textbooks. Taking summer classes is a great way to learn subjects of interest that you might otherwise not have time for in the fall or spring semester.
Thirdly, summer is also a great time to get to know any companies of interest in more depth. Browse the companies and stay on top of their current events such as addition or change of service lines, involvements in the community, or expectation for the new hires. In addition, to better prepare ourselves for the fall semester, we can hone our transferable skills by attending the workshops offered by SCDC, such as Small Talk, Mastering the Job interview-Basics, Researching Companies, etc.
It’s important for us to be aware that summer is a great time for us to continuously make progress on our academic and professional journey. Taking the time to relax while still being productive in internship, work, and class prepares us better for the fall semester and will definitely give us a leg up in a competitive and fast-paced environment.

Upcoming Workshop: Week of June 2

Making the Most of Your Internship

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 1:00 pm – 2:30pm

2-190 NVC

In this seminar students will learn important tips on how to make the most of an internship. Many internship opportunities afford the possibility of leading to a full-time position. This of course depends on the company’s needs and most importantly is based on the intern’s performance. Find out about ways to stand out positively in an internship; learn the steps involved in establishing a good rapport with your supervisor; discover what NOT to do when interning; and more!


**Please note this workshop does not help you obtain an internship, it is going to provide tips to help you make the most of an internship once you land one!**


Please make sure to RSVP on STARR Search to guarantee a seat!

Diary of an Intern, Episode 6: Internal Conflicts

4/7/14 4:00PM

After much careful thought and already checking in with my own team members, I decided to check in with my supervisor to see if there is any way I could help out and be more productive. Not only to resolve my boredom, but also to help me establish an identity as a diligent employee in the eyes of this company. I want to make a great impression because, who knows, it might lead to a job or reference in the future.

 My supervisor was glad to see that I was being proactive and seeking out ways to help. I mentioned hearing that Stephanie and Mary’s team was swamped and asked if it would be prudent at all for me to get involved. Well, my supervisor was intrigued and suggested that I help out with less technically intensive tasks so that their team can meet their project’s rapidly approaching deadline. Thankfully, we are under the same wing of the company, so in this case offering help paid off.

Stephanie and Mary introduced themselves to me, and I tried to keep calm even though I still felt awkward having eavesdropped on them just the other day. I also met an intern on their team, Gary. He gave me a very firm handshake and seemed friendly enough.

For the next couple days, I found myself tearing through some spreadsheet data entry and felt happy as could be – finally, I was doing something useful! This calls for a celebration – coffee! I was so excited to finish the file I started yesterday that I didn’t even go for my morning coffee, and when I did, I bumped into Gary.

“So, you’re just a little busy bee aren’t you? I was going to get around to those spreadsheets,” said Gary, as he walked away with his cup of coffee – no cream, no sugar, pure black.

What is with his tone? Is something bothering him? I wondered. But I carried on, happily and diligently going through the list of spreadsheets. Yet every so often I would look up to see Gary walk by with furrowed brows, avoiding eye contact.

It felt unwelcoming. Am I intruding on his territory or annoying him by taking on these tasks? What should I do now?

Diary of an Intern, Episode 3: Taking Initiative

11/12/13 4:00PM

This morning was horrible. I was stuck on a project again. But thank god! It was finally lunch time! I needed to take a break, otherwise my brain would not function properly and I would never be able to finish this project. I grabbed a can of diet coke and a bowl of salad then went straight to the cafeteria. As expected, there were not that many people there since everyone seemed to be having lunch in front of their computer. But whatever, I was dying.

I looked around and tried to find the best spot. I scanned the whole room and I saw someone. Someone I know, and he was looking at me too. Oh no, that’s my manager Richard! Obviously, he wanted me to sit with him. Bob, your career is officially over. You are probably the laziest person in Richard’s eyes. I finally sat down with him but surprisingly he didn’t blame me for sneaking out for lunch. Instead we ended up talking about the project that I am working on and I just asked him all the questions I had. He explained the project to me thoroughly and we discussed some issues that were debatable. I was so happy since I could finally finish the project. Also I realized that people want to help you, but they are busy too. You just need to know the timing and be patient. Put down all the questions that you have and ask them at a good time. I am finally getting the hang of this internship!

After lunch, everything seemed to go on the right track. Even though some projects that I had were challenging, I managed to finish them on time with help from other co-workers. I also made some close friends and I enjoy my job more now. I feel like I have more control on my job right now so I really want to do something big. I already have some ideas in mind.  I want to make the process for some projects more efficient. I know that we need to send out a lot of emails to clients but the way that they do it is definitely not efficient. We can use mail merge instead. Who should I talk to? How do I make them listen to an intern? What if they don’t like it? God, why is there always problem in front of me?