English Major Musings is an evergreen Paperback Paris column curated by Contributing Writer Alicia LeBoeuf.
Summer. For college students, the three to four months between school years can be a big opportunity to build a resume, create goals, and work towards a bright future. You’re still an English major even when you’re not on campus, and you can make this summer count while relaxing and having fun.
Here are a few ways to be a productive English major this summer:
1. Get An Internship / Job
Getting an internship or job over the summer is pretty commonplace for college students. It’s a great way to earn some money and hopefully gain some experience along the way. I would highly recommend to any college student (but especially incoming juniors or seniors) to seriously look into getting an internship for the summer since it is a great way to get some real-world experience and a much-needed resume-booster before graduating (see my internship post for more details). Or start researching and applying for internships to partake in during the school year.
2. Research The Job Market
If you’re still not sure what you want to do after graduation, researching the job market is a worthwhile endeavor to undertake this summer. This is the time to ask yourself what you really want to do once you graduate. What careers fields are of interest to you? What jobs appeal to you? What kind of companies do you want to work for? What kind of city do you want to work in? These are all important questions to take into consideration when thinking about your professional future. Also: if you want to go to grad school, now is the time to start considering it. Check out my post on grad school for more information.
3. Prepare For The Job Market
When I say “prepare,” I am referring to various things, such as making sure that you are ready to start applying for jobs and internships, and that you are, essentially, interview-ready. This means updating your resume, knowing how to write a cover letter, gathering and organizing a professional portfolio to show future employers (this could be in the form of writing samples or a portfolio website), creating a LinkedIn account, and being prepared for a standard job interview. There are tons of websites out there that give you a how-to on being an ideal job candidate, and I’ve discovered that Canva is a great tool for making resumes and cover letters. Check out my post on gathering resources for more tools to use in your job search.
4. Plan Your College Career
Taking a step away from your professional career for a moment… what about your college career? It is so important to make sure that you are meeting all the academic requirements for your major and minor so you don’t end up falling behind or graduating later than you had planned on. It’s a good idea to write down all the classes that you know you need to take in order to graduate and map out the rest of your college career. This way, you can be fairly certain on when you will be able to graduate, and hopefully, there will be no surprises along the way.
5. Take An Online Class
I feel like this is exactly what every college student doesn’t want to do during their summer. But sometimes it’s the best choice if you want to graduate on time or don’t want to overload your schedule during the school year. I had to take an online class during the summer for the first time ever recently (while working a 40-hour a week internship) and it was not easy or fun. But I feel better knowing that is one less class to take up my time and energy during the hectic upcoming school year.
6. Start A Blog
Now on to the fun stuff! English majors are, naturally, writers, and a great way to develop your writing skills is to create your own blog. You can start a blog for free, change the formatting to your preference, and have it be about whatever you want. If you love Marvel movies and superheroes, blog about that. If you’re passionate about fashion, write about that. The possibilities are endless! With the extra free time that typically comes with the summertime, this would be a fun way to fill your hours while still getting your writing juices flowing.
7. Read Some Classics
While many English majors (if not all) love reading and have probably read more classics than most people due to all the literature classes they’ve been in, summer provides a great opportunity to cross a few more “must read” books off your list. If you’re anything like me, the last thing you want to do during the school year with a long list of required reading is to pick up a heavy tome like Anna Karenina in your little free time. With more time to read, you can expand your reading horizons and can improve your literary interpretation skills by reading some of the most famous works in literature.
I do want to point out that while it’s important to work towards your goals during the summer, it’s still a time to relax and recharge. I believe that taking a break for yourself is just as important as all of the suggestions I mentioned above. Being overworked and overwhelmed is going to do you no favors. So while you should do your best to be productive, make sure you are also taking the time to enjoy your summer before you find yourself back on campus.
Stay tuned for the next installment of English Major Musings at Paperback Paris!
How do you spend your summers as a college student?
Do you have a topic you’d like us to feature in our next EMM?
Let us know in the comments, below!