Summertime: Feelin’ Groovy

by Anne Lucas

Ah—summertime!  For many of us school is out, and it’s time for fun.  That said, I realize that we’re all pursuing different paths this summer.  What does summertime mean to you?  Perhaps you are working practically 24/7, aiming to succeed in an internship that might result in an attractive job offer.  Or maybe you finance a substantial part of your educational expenses so you are working two or three jobs, stashing away money to pay your tuition bill.

Some of you are seeing the world–vacationing, studying, or doing good works. Others of you still wish that you had found a summer job that provides good experience and/or decent wages.  (It may not be too late!) Whatever your circumstances, I hope you’ll devote some time to some important activities that I believe summer is intended for—rejuvenation and reflection.

We all have our preferred methods for recharging our batteries and making some space in our brains to daydream.  For me, there’s nothing like a long, solitary walk—preferably on a beach—to help me reflect on where I’ve been and plan where I’d like to be going.  Letting our minds wander a bit is not a waste of time—quite the contrary.  I believe that electronics-free, mind-wandering time is essential to helping us discover where our passions and dreams lie—and possibly begin to brainstorm as to how to achieve those dreams.

How many times do we hear employers insist that they seek candidates with a passion for their particular field?  How often do we hear that dreaded interview question, “Tell me about yourself?”  Yet how can we identify our passions or know ourselves well enough to share our insights with others unless we make and take the time for quiet self-discovery?  I submit that in order to get to know ourselves better—and thus be able to communicate our interests and strengths and reasoning to prospective employers—we need to slow down and give ourselves time to ponder.

What could be a better time for this slow down than summer!?!  There’s still time in the Summer of 2011 to prepare for your upcoming job or internship search during the next academic year.  July is almost over, but August lies ahead of us.  I hope you’ll carve out some time from whatever you’re doing to find a place that soothes your soul where you can breathe deeply, open your heart and mind to the possibilities, and dream.  When you’re back on campus this fall, make an appointment to meet with a career counselor at Penn, and let us help you translate your passions, skills, and dreams into a fulfilling career.

Happy R & R!  See you in September!

Author: Anne Lucas

Anne Lucas is a career counselor at Penn Career Services. Currently, she works with students in the College of Arts & Sciences.