Advice for Awkward People

Dear Izzy,

There seems to be only one thing on the minds of everyone around me these days, except mine, and that’s their freshman summer. More specifically, jobs. My friends are worrying about their resumes and stressing out about interviews; some are even choosing which, of their many internship acceptance letters, to reply to with an enthusiastic YES. My parents are constantly, constantly, constantly nagging me and pushing me to start applying for jobs and to put myself out there to get experience, and they just keep stressing that “THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU,” but they’re honestly just making me more stressed about everything. So, now I’m sitting here, in my room, freaking out about if my résumé looks good enough and poring over company research to impress recruiters at the job fair. I’m worried if I’m actually going to be able to get any internships this summer, or if my grades are high enough to get me those internships. And I don’t want to waste my whole summer doing nothing. What do I do?

Just Only Beginning Lengthy Experience Search, Struggling


There are two terrible things about job season: the pressure and stress of the people around you, and the frustration and pressure you feel because of your friends’ stress and of how, when you think about it, short job season actually is. However, job season goes by surprisingly quickly, and you’re taking all the right steps to prepare for a job fair (even if you do feel a little rushed).

But, I’m not gonna lie, it will be hard to waste your whole summer doing nothing – mostly because there are so many options for things to do. And, in my opinion, they’re all pretty fun and interesting too.

Carnegie Mellon is a great place to be during the summer. Carnegie Mellon offers a bunch of summer classes in popular courses, and gives you an opportunity to take classes that you wouldn’t be able to take during the school year. Carnegie Mellon also constantly advertises pre-college jobs, so applying for one of those positions is also a great option. You can also ask your professors to see if they will need research assistants over the summer. In short, you’ll be able to work with a professor or grad student on their study and learn a lot more about what Carnegie Mellon faculty work on outside the classroom. Additionally, Pittsburgh summers are a lot nicer than Pittsburgh winters, and the weather ranges from nice, sunny, and perfectly temperate to a boiling but welcomingly hot.

You can also plan to go abroad, either to study or apply for an internship. A few study abroad programs have summer terms and give you the option to take classes, hold internships, or even both. Most students who study abroad, during any term, only take two classes, along with their internship. However, that still gives you a lot of time and a lot of great opportunities for you to explore the city – and the continent – around you and immerse yourself in a new culture.

But in all honesty, it is perfectly OK to take a break and relax during your freshman summer. It’s perfectly OK to return to your old summer job in your hometown and to just have a great time with your friends and family. In your future, you’ll get internships and jobs in a bunch of different places far away from your home, and you may not get a moment soon to see all your family and friends together again in one place. So, take a moment this summer to pause, reflect, and take a breather from your first jam-packed year of college, from the comfort of your own home.

Hope these options help,