Image from Stocksnap

Image from Stocksnap

It’s May. You haven’t heard back from any of your internship potentials and the idea of stocking food at your local Piggly Wiggly bores you to tears. You want to challenge yourself, but it turns out you won’t be able to (or don’t want to) do it in an office. It’s okay! When people ask you what you did for the summer, no longer will you be forced to tell them you napped every day until three pm. Instead, they’ll be wowed by your newfound knowledge, and you’ll be the talk of the classroom (until some new celebrity scandal comes along.)

So how exactly do you prevent your summer from becoming a bummer?

1. Freelance or start a new business

If you’re talented in a certain area, why not do it for fun and profit? How many people can say they started a business over the summer? Even if it’s as simple as selling things on Etsy, you’re learning the twists and turns of how to run a business. If you don’t want to take the plunge, you could do freelance work over the summer instead. There are plenty of small businesses out there who don’t want to hire a big firm for their writing, designing, coding, or other needs. This can be a great way to make money on the side.

2. Learn some marketable skills

Maybe you’ve seen a lot of businesses expect proficiency in such and such skill, and you wondered how you’d ever have time to learn it. This is the time. Sites like teach a variety of business skills in video form. The website not only offers courses in hard skills like Photoshop and programming, but also in soft skills like how to become a better communicator. Do something that you can put on your resume without ever leaving the house!

3. Or learn something you’ve never had time to learn before risk-free

Maybe soft skills aren’t your thing, but underwater basket weaving is. Or maybe you want to learn guitar instead of Garage Band. There are thousands of free online courses out there that’ll help you learn whatever your heart desires. Most courses allow you to watch videos on demand, which means that you can fit them into your schedule however you please. Also, most courses aren’t graded, so you don’t have to worry about Pass/Fail-ing a class because you haven’t done the work. The beauty is that you can learn as little or as much as you want, all without paying a penny.

4. Actually work at a supermarket (or find another job)

Maybe you really need the moolah that would come with a summer internship. If this is the case, you could try to find work at a local business in your hometown. It might not be as glamourous as an internship in the big city, but it’ll get the tuition bills paid. Babysitting, waitressing, retail. . . there are plenty of jobs available for college students. Sites like or can help you find one if you don’t care to personally ask every business within a ten mile radius if they’re hiring. Also, don’t discount your experience as invalid. Become a leader where you work and find a way to squeeze it onto your resume.

5. Volunteer

Even if you don’t have a use for your time, someone else certainly does. Spending your time volunteering will help to someone who needs it with the perk of giving you the warm fuzzies. Plus, you might pick up a new skill or two on the way. Try to volunteer in a field that will develops the skill sets you want to improve.

6. Nap

I mean, it’s a completely valid option.

In the end, even if you don’t score the internship you wanted (or if you didn’t want an internship in the first place), you don’t have to spend the summer sitting idle. There are plenty of ways to avoid brain drain and make a little extra cash besides.

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