This is a guest post by Shavonna Q. Hinton for Student Stories.
The summer between freshman and sophomore year of college is undoubtedly one of the most awkward summers college students experience. You’re not quite an adult, but you’re too old to go to summer camp anymore. New friends have been made, and old ones begin to fade. Coming home from college after my first year everyone wanted to know how college was, how I was adjusting to being away from home, if I was making friends, you know, the typical nosy family and friends type of questions. But there was one question in particular that I should’ve really considered more, “What are you doing for the summer?”
So when I came home in early May, I was all set, or at least that’s what I thought. Instead I created quite an adventure and gained some valuable life lessons in what became known to my family as “The Great Summer Job Search”.
It started off pretty normal; I set out on my first day, resumes and black ballpoint pens poised and ready to fill out applications. First I went to the local strip malls and plazas near my house, put in around 20 applications and waited a few days. Surely, someone would want to hire me I thought; but, I was wrong. After following up with all the places I applied to, I didn’t get a single offer. So I set back out and extended my search to a few neighboring towns. This time was even less fruitful, as most of the places weren’t even hiring!
Reaching around 40 applications now I thought, “there’s no way I won’t find a job.” But I was wrong, because by this point, no one seemed to be hiring. After having yet another day of my parents asking, “when are you going to get a job?” I was defeated. But then it hit me. Here I was thinking I was ahead of the game because I’d gotten home in May, (I figured I’d beat out all the high school students for great summer jobs). But the harsh reality is: No one wants to hire college freshmen. You’re going to come in for the summer work for 2 months, it’s going to take at least 2 weeks to train you, add a family vacation in there or two and by the time you get started, you’re headed back to school. Pretty bad investment on the company’s part, and when you multiply that by thousands of students who flood back home over the summer, paired with adults looking for jobs as well, it’s a tough market. So what do you do? How do you go about getting a job when it seems like no one wants to give you one?
You don’t give up; you keep applying.
Capping close to 70 applications at this point and nearly 3 weeks into my summer vacation I was a job hunting machine. Every day I woke up and set out to find a job, my search extended to almost every town within 30 minutes of my house, my application number kept climbing too, 77…83…94 finally 97 applications. There’s was hope in those last few applications though. I believe it may have been application number 92 or 93 but I had a breakthrough. I got an interview and they hired me almost immediately. It wasn’t the most glamorous of jobs, and it certainly wasn’t the job I wanted. But given that it was nearly July and I had not a penny to my name, I took it.
I barely got any hours, and there was an armed robbery one night when I wasn’t working. Even more shocking than that, my boss neglected to tell me of the events that had occurred the night before until after I finished working the longest shift I had ever received, (I picked up the hours of the 2 employees who had decided to quit after hearing the news). I finished that summer happy that I earned some money, (most of which went right to textbooks,) and walked away with a few valuable lessons.
The first is most obviously perseverance while some of my friends stopped looking for jobs way before I did, I kept going I refused to spend my summer rotting watching Netflix, (which was fun for the first few days until I got bored). But the second more important one is to start your summer job search early. It was definitely naiveté on my part because I thought getting a job would be easy. Most of my friends who had jobs right away had applied during spring break and set up interviews when they came home for the summer, that way, they had a selection of places to choose from. Going into my next summer vacation I followed that advice and I found a great summer job which I started almost immediately after coming home from college.
I’ve never been one for cliché sayings but there’s really no better way to explain it other than, “the early bird catches the worm.” Ever since my “Great Summer Job Search” I’ve always been proactive when it comes to going after things I want. When I see an internship I want, I don’t hesitate and wait, I apply right away. If there’s a fun opportunity around campus, I jump at the chance to join. I’m currently a junior in college but I’ve already started to seriously consider my options for potential career paths.
Job searching isn’t easy, life isn’t easy, so don’t make it harder by waiting and sitting just assuming that things will be handed to you. Get up, and get going!
About the Author:
I’m Shavonna Q. Hinton and I’m a junior at Binghamton University majoring in Marketing and Management Information Systems. Outside of the classroom you can usually find me on the track as I’m a member of the Track and Field Team at Binghamton specializing in middle distance; the 800 is my favorite event. I’m the President of the Binghamton University Chapter of ALPFA, a business professional organization. I also serve as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Student Ambassadors Program. When I’m not busy around campus, usually I’m binge watching a TV series on Netflix or watching way too many documentaries (and yes, I have seen Blackfish). I’ve also been known to be quite the social media gazelle and can be found on twitter @ShavonnaQHinton.