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Off to London tomorrow so I realize this week’s LinkedIn Monday is, in fact, on a Tuesday, but whatever. Been busy.

In this week’s Q and A I’m combining a great LinkedIn question with a post I read on Brazen Careerist a week or so ago. I have very strong opinions on this subject, but please keep in mind my GPA at school SUCKED and I never did anything for the sole purpose of padding my resume…


What is the best way for students to spend their summer? Traveling? Internship? Working?

~ Gavin Davis, Resume Writer

My Answer

Travel. Traveltraveltraveltravel. Seriously. Even if you work/intern/party/freelance/drink yourself into a stupor…. at least you’re traveling and that’s where the best experiences come from.

Other responses included:

  • Interning
  • “Do any activities that help develop their people and communication skills.” ~ Clint Cora
  • At the beach. “You won’t get long vacations when you’re working.” ~ Vasco Phillip de Sousa
  • Resume building
  • Part time work
  • Volunteering

Many responders pointed out that it depends on the person, their career goals and/or personal preferences, and I definitely agree. I vote travel because I had an amazing experience traveling and living in Europe, but a close friend of mine has zero desire to leave the States and spent his summers interning and/or goofing off. To each her own and all that.

Stop Stressing

My “strong opinions” stem from my issue with the question (not that it wasn’t a good one): Stop. Effing. Stressing. Seriously. Do whatever you want. If you think having an internship is going to help you land that dream job, by all means, do it. Are you taking that internship because you “should”? Then don’t.

I really hate this whole cram-all-pleasure-during-college-cuz-you’ll-be-miserable-in-the-real-world. Even more than that, I hate the mentality that you have to cram in all the work experience while you’re young so you can beat out all the other competition.

A recent post on the Brazen Careerist network by author Kristen Fisher talked about “getting into the real world mentality.” Fisher writes about getting started on your resume, practice interviewing and “start looking for a job – yesterday.”

While I agree it’s important to think about what you want to do while still in school to minimize stress, doing too much of that can have the exact opposite effect.

My background – cuz I know how much you care…

I went to Davidson College, a super small liberal arts school in the South with an unfortunate notoriety for being one of

Davidson College aka House of Horrors

the hardest schools in the country (without the prestige, naturally). Now, I rarely did my work unless it involved my major (Sociology/Gender Studies), which I loved, but the majority of my friends spent days in the library and one of my roommates would stay up until 4 in the morning getting work done. For what? A high GPA? A great job after school? Most of them are still unemployed or working at jobs that are “okay for now”.

I don’t know if this is because of the economy or what, but I feel like all that stress my friends put up with wasn’t really for anything worthwhile. The things I remember about college aren’t the good grades or time studying or even my classes. I remember the awesome stuff. The trips, the friends, the ridiculous stories. I went to one career center event during my 4 years there. Everything I learned about work came after graduation. So all these adults telling us to spend our last weeks at school preparing for the real world?

Sounds like a waste of time to me.


Random note: Every time I read blog posts that scare students about post-graduation plans, this song pops into my head:


I still hate internships, but sometimes free is smart

April 6, 2010

Last week I was quoted in TIME Magazine’s article, “Working For Free” by Eve Tahmincioglu and I wanted to share some thoughts on this new intern/free labor drama. Here’s a snippet: Will labor activists in the U.S. ever get the intern genie back in the bottle? Not if enough people keep volunteering to work for […]

20 comments You know you want more →

Teaching at Barnard: How to get a job using social media

January 18, 2010

On the 2nd of February I will be teaching my very first workshop in Barnard’s career services department. The subject? Using social media as a job hunting tool (I know, right? Apparently I need a hobby).  You all kind of know how I feel about “traditional” job search methods, and as I’ve mentioned before, schools […]

11 comments You know you want more →

5 Things College Teaches You About Work (and 5 things it doesn’t)

January 11, 2010

Colleges have a tendency to harp on about the world of work and the basics we absolutely-positively-no-excuses-allowed must learn. But they did get some things right. Operative word: some. What college teaches: 1. How to use the alumni network. I went to Davidson College, a liberal arts school in the South with about 1,600 students, […]

21 comments You know you want more →

Internship Series part 2: The Cool Factor

December 31, 2009

Just the other day I ran into a guy I went to high school with, Ed, who is an intern with a major fashion designer. He has a degree, is a helluva smart kid, but felt because of the recession he wouldn’t be able to get a paying job so chickened out and grabbed the […]

8 comments You know you want more →