“What are you doing this summer?” used to be an innocent question answered with a smile and details of your future tropical vacation plans or the lazy days you would spend working at an ice cream shop in your hometown. Now, this question might be met with a gulp as your mind launches itself into immediate panic mode. The pressure to load your summer days with the most impressive, career-building and recognizable name-brand internship is overwhelming college students across the nation.
What was once reserved for juniors or seniors is now open season for all ages and grades, and with this comes a paralyzing pressure to find the “perfect” internship. Before letting these thoughts overpower your enjoyment of spring semester, know that you don’t need to land your dream internship at Vogue working under the editor in chief the summer after your freshman year at Tulane.
An internship at Urban Outfitters, Charles Schwab or Amazon is not necessary to have under your belt and you shouldn’t be losing any sleep thinking that you need these internships to have a “successful” summer. Not to say that these internships are not sought after or valuable; it is simply to consider that some internships may not be the ones that will give you the best hands-on experience or allow you to truly explore the field of work you are interested in. Before expending all your effort in applying for the part-time coffee-grabbing unpaid internship in your dream city, consider taking a route that is more genuinely beneficial to you. This may end up helping you learn the skills necessary to succeed at your dream job in the future.
As students, we are constantly hearing that there are countless resources available to us to help us find internships, make connections, or search for jobs, yet it’s still difficult at times to know where or how to begin when it seems the task before us is so daunting and the pool of applicants is so vast.
One of the most crucial things to recognize is that searching for an internship close to home or right here in New Orleans (if you’re staying for the summer) is one of the most advantageous and simple strategies. Rather than shoveling thousands of dollars towards NYC rent for the summer to work an unpaid internship, it pays off literally and figuratively to start your search a little closer to home.
If you’re asking yourself “where do I even start?” there are many helpful resources within the Tulane community and beyond to aid in your search.
1. Handshake: This website connects Tulane student to employers, alerts you of upcoming events, and advertises internships. It allows you to search for opportunities that relate to your major or area of interest. Handshake displays internship opportunities across the country in an easy-to-navigate way, noting dates for applications and whether they are paid or unpaid.
2. Tower & Crescent: This is a group specific to Tulane that is loved by students because they get to learn about the significance of being a Tulane alumnus, allowing for a deep appreciation of Tulane and its community. Alumni guest speakers who have graduated and begun their careers come to speak to students and pass on their wisdom.
3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the classic networking site which allows you to upload a profile about yourself and make connections with people you might know from a variety of contexts. It has excellent advanced search tools that can specify your job search to only include Tulane alum, working in a certain industry, in a certain city. You can message these people and try to set up informational interviews to network learn about their careers!
4. Tulane Takeovers: Tulane hosts a variety of “takeovers” in major cities across the country. These are networking events for students to speak to alumni and create connections in places near them which is super helpful for finding an internship or summer job close to home.
5. Senior Year Experience Program: Specifically geared towards helping juniors and seniors but assisting all grades is the senior year experience program. Offering personal assistance with resume building and application letters as well as help with perfecting your LinkedIn profile, this program is particularly helpful for those who want one-on-one advice and guidance through the ins and outs of this process.
6. TulaneConnect: You can sign up with your Facebook or LinkedIn profile and connect to Tulane alumni looking to help students find jobs or internships within every career field.
There are thousands of opportunities to be found not only within these websites (not to mention they are all free!) but also with help from advisors at Tulane who are eager to support and guide students in their internship search. While summers may not be the same as when we were younger, an internship should be exciting rather than something to dread. It truly is an opportunity to have a life-changing and inspiring summer while working towards your future goals.
COVER PHOTO: Lindsey Drucker