Confusion Corner: Summer: for work or waste

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April 23, 2010

4:48 AM

Nineteen days. That’s how much time is left between now and the last day of exams. That’s how much time stands between you and the sweet, sweet freedom of summer. We all know how many wonderfully diverse things your fellow Tribe members — or should I say griffins — do here at the College of William and Mary. Whether it’s building a house on Barksdale Field, giving up their spring break to help Honduras, representing the College of William and Mary in club Frisbee tournaments, or giving tours to prospective students, William and Mary students are known for being involved all over the place.

So what happens when summer rolls around? Do these busy griffins (I couldn’t resist) have to sit around idly and twiddle their thumbs? Fear not, for I am here with a number of exciting options to keep your summer just as titillating as your spring and fall semesters.

Internships are a great choice for college students. They provide that sought-after real world experience that can really give you a leg up when looking for a job after graduation. Whether you’re an international relations major looking for an internship with NATO, a business major hoping to work at Bank of America, or a music major interning with a rock band — I hear some of them do that — internships demonstrate that you are serious about your career in that field. Of course, many internships aren’t paid, and require you to work longer hours than most paid jobs, but that’s a small price to pay for the eventual boost to your career, right? Sure, you will probably spend most of your internship getting coffee, stuffing envelopes and answering e-mails, but that’s what companies want to see. They want to see that you have put in your time in the grunt ranks and that you’re ready to move on up the corporate ladder — well, and also that you can make a mean cup of coffee. Besides, if you decide after your internship that field wasn’t for you, you can always fall back on a career at Starbucks. You’ll be extremely qualified.

Studying abroad during the summer is another college rite of passage. Ideal for linguistics majors, spending the summer taking classes in a foreign country with its own culture and customs is the perfect way to get robbed. Nothing says, “Don’t worry, I won’t understand your judicial system,” like a college sweatshirt in a language that isn’t spoken there. But really, immersing yourself in your language of study is a wonderful way to improve your skills quickly, especially if failure to do so means ending up on the opposite side of Paris or Prague or Pyongyang with no money left, and unexplained ownership of a goat. But let me set your nerves at ease, fellow griffins: We don’t even have an exchange program with Pyongyang.

Perhaps the most coveted of all summer plans is the one that involves doing absolutely nothing. “What did I do today? Well I woke up at four in the afternoon — okay, evening — got on Xbox Live for three hours, made myself some Easy Mac and … now I’m talking to you.” I was lucky enough to have a summer like this myself once. I spent my free time digging a giant hole in my backyard with my friends. Why? Because we had nothing else to do. Wonderful, beautiful nothing.

So worry not, students. Your summer doesn’t have to be a drop-off in scintillating activities; your next three months can be as exciting or uneventful as you choose to make them. And remember — there’s always room for another barista.

__Jason Rogers is a Confusion Corner columnist. While other students are spending their summers helping the less fortunate or working at internships, Jason plans to continue building the whole in his backyard. Who knows, maybe he will dig it all the way to China.__

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