It’s that time of year again, and the summer slump is fast approaching. School is finishing, either for the semester or forever. You’re faced with at least four whole months of glorious freedom…and it’s absolutely terrifying.
I mean, what are you going to do with all of that time? How are you going to pay your rent? Seriously, are there any jobs, anywhere, that haven’t already been taken? Why are all your friends leaving you? Are you going to have to move home with your parents? What are you going to do with your life?
It’s all pretty scary, to say the least. You’re applying to jobs that you’re more than qualified for without even a single courtesy rejection email in return. All of your friends are headed off to amazing internships, and clerkships, and work studies, or they’re starting their real, adult, big-deal careers. You live in constant fear of ending up in your parents’ basement, eating full bags of chips for dinner and binge watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix.
It’s somehow never as bad to eat full bags of chips for dinner and binge watch PLL on Netflix when you’re doing so on your own couch – and when you’ve put in a full day’s work beforehand.
To avoid the extra pounds you’ll gain from those crispy Lays dinners on the couch, the crazy-eyed mania you’ll develop from trying to follow the PLL drama, and the imminent summer slump, it might be time to take a few precautionary steps.
First, realize that you might have to move home for a couple of months – and that’s totally okay. Your parents love you, and they love to help you out. If you find yourself in this situation, consider sitting down with your parents to talk about expectations for the summer months. Be respectful of your parents, but also be respectful of yourself. Come prepared to listen, but also come with some suggestions of your own. The dynamic changes when you move away and start to take care of yourself, and it can be really difficult to move back into your old routine when you’re used to playing by your own rules.
You should also accept that you may have to work a job for which you are overqualified. You almost definitely deserved the other career-oriented, education-boosting positions you applied for. It is almost definitely unfair that you didn’t that internship/clerkship/research assistantship/fellowship. But reality is, unfortunately, very real. You have bills to pay and you need money to pay them. Look into jobs that maybe don’t sound all that exciting on paper, but find a company that treats its employees well, or a company about which you are passionate. A lot of retail and service companies offer benefits, great employee discounts, competitive wages, and partial contribution matching for employees who buy company stocks. Do your research, dust off your good ol’ customer service resume, and make the extra effort to write a cover letter.
Above all else, make sure that you take time for yourself. Recognize that it’s okay to spend a couple of nights on the couch with chips and Netflix. Go shopping, even if you could put that money to use elsewhere. Go out for dinner, even if you could cook something at home. Keep applying for the jobs you’re dreaming of, even if you’re already working. And if you’re working in retail or a restaurant and something better comes along, don’t be afraid to take it. Appreciate yourself, take the time to relax, and use this time to plan for what’s to come.
Whether you’re headed back to school in the fall or you’re planning for your next steps in your working career, taking some time “off” in the summer can be a really healthy thing. You don’t have to have the perfect apartment or the perfect full-time career lined up right away. Work at that store you love to shop at or the restaurant you love to frequent. Move home and let your parents help you out for a while. Just take a deep breath, keep your head up high, and take on the summer slump head-strong.
You’ll get through it, and it’ll be September before you know it.