We have all been there. Refreshing our inbox every 30 seconds. Staring at the spinning grey spokes, hoping for an email to materialise. Reaching for our phones at every phantom buzz we think we felt. Excitedly answering a phone call from an unknown number only for it to be an insurance agent reading off a script.
That excruciating wait.
After. An. Interview.
It usually starts in Week 3, or Week 4. Everyone has finally accepted that the semester has really really started and there's no other way but to finally come to terms with it. You are moaning about your load of readings you know you won't even download till you're in the panicked state of Week 14 and then - someone asks you: "Eh, you find internship already?"
You brush off the question with a nonchalant "No la, later then find" but you know inside you got them feelz of panic. By week 12, you've submitted 10 applications on ONTRAC and written so many cover letters but why is no one calling back your GPA is respectable you have talents you have skills you make excellent kopi plus you have 3 coffee shops near your house you can buy breakfast for your boss from so WHY HAS NO ONE CALLED YOU BACK?
What IF no one calls back? Is that a bad thing? Does it make you less of a capable person? We say: No.
Not getting a call back doesn't mean you were not good enough. It could just mean that despite your talents and charm, it may have been simply because it wasn't a good fit between the company and you. Take it as a good sign - who knows, the internship may not have lived up to your expectations. In the event that you currently find yourself without a job or internship for the holidays, we say: Have a happy summer!
It's not very often you have three whole months to yourself without deadlines and people expecting things of you, so take it as a blessing. Take the time to do all the things you wanted to do during the school term but have had to put off because of your work load. Here are some ideas you can engage yourself in so you can come out of your summer holidays enriched, well rested and ready for the next chapter of your life:
1. Take courses on Coursera
Okay, okay, we know that the last thing you will want to do after two semesters of studying is study. But have you ever wanted to study Plato’s philosophy, or examine evolution on a molecular level, or perhaps teach yourself further tactics to optimise SEO? Even if your interests don’t lie in the abovementioned categories, Coursera offers a large variety of online courses by top schools in Technology, Math, Science, Arts and really random things you can study from the comfort of your home. Some courses require money to undertake but they offer actual certification upon completion of their coursework and tests. Given that these courses are conducted by top universities in the world, you could learn something you have always wanted outside (or within) your field of study, and earn a neat certificate at the same time. Moreover, Singapore citizens can also use their SkillsFuture credit to offset the official certification fees from partner universities!
2. Join a CCA or learn a new sport
Your excuse during the school semester is that you need to pull upyour GPA - so now that it is the summer holidays, how about just a pull up? Picking up a new sport is relatively easier than picking up a new language or musical instrument and it also keeps you off the couch. As advertised, SMU has over 160 student clubs - a quarter of which are sports CCAs. Most CCAs have a recreational team and competitive team, allowing you to start easy and perhaps groom yourself for something bigger in the future. If you are decidedly not one for athletics, you have the choice of sticking your fingers in the Arts Clubs pie, Special Interest and Community Services pie, or Society Clubs pie. You could learn to spin music, mix cocktails or engage in political discourse and also meet like-minded people at the same time. Joining a CCA is as simple as stalking their Facebook pages or emailing them directly. No matter the CCA you join, given that you are at the prime of your life, there is no better time to meet new people, beat personal goals, and train yourself to be mentally sturdier (you know, for the throes of the working world and all that).
Duh, who doesn’t travel during the summer holidays? The people on internship, that’s who! You are free: you have no shirts to iron, morning alarms to snooze through or half hearted laughs to give when your boss makes lame jokes. Go forth and fly! Immerse yourself in a different culture (by this, we do not mean the shopping culture but if it floats your boat, sure), try new cuisines, go for a change of scenery. Certainly, the issue of money is pertinent in this case but a small loan from your parents, or a temporary part time job and traveling on budget can alleviate this problem. Experiencing life outside of home is very much an eye opener, even if your chosen country of travel is more affluent. Traveling is an humbling experience and one that might teach you first hand about your feelings, or lack thereof, for your home country. Also, you get to spam envy inducing photos on Instagram!
Admit it, you have not read a complete book since the academic year began. Assigned readings for modules do not count! During the semesters, given the choice between sleeping or reading, most of us choose to sleep because after Week 5, what is sleep? When blessed with endless sticky afternoons and slightly less humid eventides, one cannot derive more joy than from traversing strange worlds and being spectators of curious stories unfurling with each page. Reading is simply another way to travel and discover, even if you are reading a non-fiction book. Try reading illustrious classics of past eras, recent authors of crime, sci-fi and fantasy or factual books on science, theology, philosophy, and the like. Many reading lists exist online for specific genres and areas of interest.
5. Netflix and Chill/Rot at Home
This was admittedly a popular choice with the team. We agreed that if you didn’t have an internship or job for the holidays, some part of your summer should include simply bumming around doing nothing for a bit. This in itself is paradise and a chance to form halcyon memories you can reminisce about in the future - when you are in the midst of exam preparation. So go ahead and have these happy days for the rest of us slaving away behind a mountain of paperwork. Don’t forget to eat once in a while and say hi to your parents once in a while though!
There is clearly no one way to spend your summer days so we hope you get to do all the things you really wanted to and have fun too. Cheers to a good summer!