Ask a fifth-year: Unemployed in Summertime

Dear Sarah,

A bunch of my friends have started lining up summer jobs and internships and I still have no idea what to do. I could bum around at home, but as much as I love my parents, I feel like I should do something more productive than binge watch Netflix for three months straight. Do you have any suggestions on what I could do?

—Feeling Like I Should Start Pretending to be a Real Adult


Dear Real Adult,

First off, there’s nothing explicitly wrong with hanging out with your parents all summer and watching a ton of Netflix. I bet your parents are pretty cool people and now that you don’t see them all the time, they might be more exciting to hang out with than you think. Or you could hide out in your room all day and watch Breaking Bad ten times over. That was pretty much how I spent the summer after my sophomore year.

That being said, I completely understand wanting to get out and see the world a bit more. Summer break can provide you with ample opportunities to explore hobbies and interests you aren’t able to while at Lawrence.

Professional Development: You could use these three months to dive into an aspect of your degree that you see yourself pursuing after college. There are also opportunities for students to live here in Appleton and conduct research on campus. Think about your interests outside of Lawrence; what aspect of your education do you want to learn more about beyond what is offered at Lawrence?

Hobbies and Other Interests: Is there something you’ve always wanted to explore and learn more about but never got the chance? I bet there’s an internship for that. Maybe you always wanted to learn more about film restoration or how to be a bartender or the sport of curling. These topics might not be explicitly related to your major and your career aspirations, but that’s OK. You don’t have much more time in your life to take three months off from your life to pursue a random hobby. Take advantage of it while you can!

Making Some Dough: We’re students, college is expensive and man, it would be great to use this summer to make some money. Some summer programs and internships do come with a stipend, so keep an eye out for that. However, also keep in mind what your living expenses will be—the stipend for a job that will house and feed you for free is not the same as the stipend that requires you to find your own apartment in New York City. There are also opportunities for summer work closer to campus. There are positions available with Facility Services, Information Technology Services, Catering Services, Communications, Admissions and Reunion Weekend. There are also positions available at Bjorklunden for summer employment.

Good luck, Real Adult, in your search for summer work. If all else fails, The Wire is an excellent TV show and it’s all available on Amazon Prime and your summer would certainly not be wasted if you watched that on repeat for three months.

Send your questions to and have them answered by Sarah, a double-degree student in her fifth year at Lawrence University.