How to Beat Internship FOMO: 10 Smart Things to Do This Summer

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Despite your impressive resume and above-average ability to get coffee, you didn’t land an internship this summer. Everyone who asks what you’re up to this summer–because you’re an adult and have to have plans besides working on your tan–shake their heads when you tell them you have no internship plans. It seems now you’re doomed to suffer through an unproductive summer that’ll put you behind your peers. This may result in a downward spiral of anxiety about the future that ends with you in front of Netflix for eight hours at a time bingeing Daredevil. Yet, you can totally you stay on top of your game this summer, even if you don’t have an internship.

1. Detox like you want a place on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew

This doesn’t mean just detoxing from substances, but that too would be a proactive way to kick-start your summer. You should also detox from stress from school, toxic relationships and any feelings of anxiety about the future or inadequacy. This doesn’t mean taking a vow of silence to meditate in a temple for twelve hours a day eating only twigs, berries and kale. Just take a few minutes to yourself, think about what you want in your life and purge the things you don’t. Summer is time to relax and recharge. Kick all the stress in your life to the curb, and focus on all the good shit in your life.

2. Kick bad habits to the curb…with the trash you didn’t take out

Now that you’ve purged all of your outside sources of stress, look to the things you do that hold you back. Start wearing sunscreen. Return emails right when you read them. Fold your clothes when they come out of the dryer instead of letting them sit until they’re so wrinkled you just get lazy and wash them again. It only takes 30 days to develop a habit. Use the more controlled environment of summer to replace the bad habits with a good one in just one month.

3. Make goals, be #goals

Start by making a goal for the day: Get out of bed before noon. Easy, right? Check it off the list. Make a goal for the week: Only watch two episodes of Friends a day. Then make a goal for the month and so on. Keep yourself on track this summer. You won’t be working for a company as an intern, but you’ll be working for yourself. You’re guaranteed to be the coolest boss you know, but don’t let your employee slack. Set goals. As your own employee, don’t disappoint your boss. Go above and beyond like your salary depends on it. “I made a goal to create my YouTube channel a while ago. I finally started my channel this summer,” Marquette sophomore Kaitlin Sanchez said. “By the end of the summer I hope to accomplish a steady posting schedule. I think goals are necessary to not lose yourself and sight of the big picture.”

4. Eat like Gwyneth P, get a body like Queen B

This can be one of your first goals for the summer and a new habit to start. Being at the mercy of the dining hall doesn’t make for a Gwyneth Paltrow-worthy diet. And at school, the gym can be so packed that you end up walking (well, taking the bus, if we’re being honest) home with only a rec smoothie to prove you were there at all. At home, you’re in more control of what you eat and when and where you work out. Scour Pinterest for fitness and nutrition plans, or pick the brain of the fittest person you know. You have three months to get in the habit of actually taking care of your body. “Summer is [also] particularly great for boosting healthy eating, as many communities offer farmers markets and affordable fresh, local produce at grocery stores. Common healthy summer food preparation methods such as grilling and incorporation of garden-fresh vegetable and fruit salads to meals can add a boost to one’s nutrition,” Behavioral Health Consultant Heidi Bohall said.

5. Treat yo’self and teach yo’self

This could be a new type of workout to do as a part of your fitness plan or relearning the language you took for two years in high school. Maybe throw spices together and cook something that doesn’t come out of a box. You’d be learning career-relevant skills at your internship if you had one, but now you have three months to learn life-relevant skills. It’s fine if you burn everything you make for the first two months or confuse the Spanish words for “potato” and “dad,” but it’s summer so there are no bad grades to earn. Best of all, there’s no pressure.

6. Show yourself a whole new world

Not all of us college kids have money for a plane ride to Portugal in our back pockets. What we do have is gas money, good friends and an above-average knowledge of snack food–the perfect recipe for a road trip. If you are fortunate enough to navigate continents or cross a border, you definitely should. But the point of travelling is to get out of your comfort zone and see the world from a different perspective, which you can do from the next big city over. Meet new people. Eat new food. Go find the World’s Largest Ball of Twine and Instagram a picture with it. Travelling is always worthwhile, no matter how near or far. “After deciding [Arizona] was too far, [my friends and I] looked for places that were closer but also interesting. Myrtle Beach came up, and we said to ourselves, ‘Hey, that looks cool,’ so we went. All of this ‘planning’ happened over the course of about an hour,” University of Illinois sophomore Bobby Morales said.

7. Hit up the high school group chat

How long has it been since your high school squad has really hung out? You may have a group chat where someone posts a meme or an inside joke every now and then, but there’s a reason you all were inseparable not too long ago. Reconnect with those people in the way you were connected back then. You’ll never know when you’ll need them in the future for a place to crash, a networking possibility or a hand-me-down piece of furniture for your apartment. More importantly, you’ll never know when they’ll need you. Everyone puts some relationships on the backburner when things get busy (basically every day of college), but make sure you don’t forget about the people who made you who you are.

8. Find a job that’s cool for the summer

Plenty of places are looking to hire just for the summer. Ice cream shops, park districts and pools typically need seasonal help and are full of young adults trying to make extra cash. Hello, plot of High School Musical 2. You likely won’t perform choreographed numbers in the pool, but there’s a reason there are so many movies about a group of kids working together for the summer. Summer jobs can be fun. Plus, it’s a way to earn extra money and add work experience to your resume. “I got a summer job because I knew I’d be spending all day doing nothing if I didn’t. This way I get out of the house, and I earn money for hanging out with kids all day so I can spend [money] going out with friends after work,” YMCA cam counselor Mia Tirado said.

9. Follow your dreams–literally

So that new tech company didn’t want you as their intern, but here’s the next best thing–for one day or a few weeks, you can see exactly what it’s like to work as someone in your future career field by shadowing. You’ll learn the daily annoyances, the daily triumphs and every tip and trick in the book. “Shadowing different doctors helped me get a feel for what type of doctor I wanted to be, “ Creighton University sophomore Gabi DiMatteo said. “It helped me realize how much a doctor does before and after seeing a patient and how busy a doctor’s day is.” Shadowing gives you a crash course in your career without you personally doing any of the work. Sign me up!

10. Do an online overhaul

You’ll be on social media all day anyway, passively hating everyone who is lounging on a white-sand beach somewhere or taking a gap year to backpack Europe. So why not make it useful to you? Clean up your social media in any way you can. Delete people that make you angry when you see them on your timeline. Untag unflattering pictures of you with solo cups. Social media is an extension of the real-life you, and people (especially employers) judge you based on the parts of you you choose to share on this platform. Share content getting 150 likes on Insta, not content that makes people wish for a dislike button.

Marin is a pizza snob from Chicago (deep dish only) who loves writing, baking, and wasting the day away watching videos of baby animals. She is a Journalism major at the University of Iowa and she hopes to be the editor of a magazine one day.

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