The Economista: Summer Time

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Welcome to The Economista! – a blog for those looking to successfully enjoy their time at Brown while on a budget. Learn new tips each week from  freshman blogger Elliot Weiss as we embark on a journey of fiscal responsibility,  free meals (yes – there is such a thing as a free lunch!), and plenty of inexpensive fun. Cheers!

Right now is just about that time of year when everyone, including my super cool, calm, and collected roommate, starts to freak out just a little bit. The reason: summer plans. While attending CareerLab info sessions back in October may have seemed like a promising start to the summer internship search process, for a lot of students, not a whole lot has been done to ensure that summer work plans are settled.

I would much rather consider myself a man of fortunate circumstances than one of truly solid planning prowess when it comes to my summer prospects. In a town not too far away from my house, I was recently informed of a possible summer opening working in the research and development lab of a medical supply company. I quickly sent over a resume (or at least what I would consider to be a workable list of my feeble accomplishments and minimal work experience) and scheduled an interview. If it had not been for the amazingly random and slightly contrived fortune that I was dealt, I would probably still be anxiously applying to internships with very low prospects for success and very high feelings of ineptitude.

This point really brings me to the main purpose of this post – to comment on the unforeseen challenges, most commonly in the “real world”, that many first year Brown students have recently confronted. Rather than simply calling up a few good companies and receiving internship offers like Donald Trump receives paychecks, hundreds (if not thousands) of underclassmen and underclasswomen struggle to find what they would consider to be a suitable internship opportunity because so many of these so called “opportunities” are imbued with statements such as: “minimum two years industry experience” or “junior or senior standing in an undergraduate program required” or (my personal least-favorite) “bachelor of science required, masters degree or PhD recommended.” As a first year student, whose only legitimate work experience has been cleaning up empty Go-Gurt wrappers at a Jewish day camp (I’m being mostly honest here), how am I supposed to compete with experienced young professionals who have already completed their undergraduate education? This is one of the many frustrations that have befallen myself and many of my classmates after a long, cold winter of endless (and many times hopeless) job and internship searching.

But, there is still cause for some optimism. While most students don’t have a very clear idea of what they are going to do with their careers, many can still find fun and interesting internship opportunities, even if they are not as “prestigious” as those currently filled by PhD students. So, I offer you all this advice: put yourself out there, network a bit with people who can really help you out, and don’t set your expectations too high (especially as a first year student). After enough arduous work (which most, if not all, Brown students are used to), this upcoming summer will be three months of fun, relevant, and manageable work experiences. And of course, if the whole summer internship thing doesn’t really work out this year, remember: there’s always next year.

If you have any additional questions, comments, concerns, or mildly amusing jokes to tell, please feel free to email me at elliot_weiss@brown.edu! Also, I always appreciate suggestions for future blog posts!

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