The Daily Illini

Staying on campus isn’t so bad

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

Soon after settling into freshman year, one of the earliest worries students have is what they plan on doing after the year comes to an end.

For many, the goal is to score an internship and travel to a different state. However, in an increasingly competitive environment, landing the opportunity to acquire an internship is hard enough, let alone one that allows you to travel.

Students dread the idea of staying on campus and would much rather return home to their families over the summer, but it’s important to realize if all else fails, staying on campus for a summer can be a more constructive use of your time.

While shooting for an internship is a respectable goal, students should also consider focusing on developing themselves academically first. Prioritizing the few months of summer can lead to a head start for incoming sophomores and juniors. It’s difficult to apply to internships without experience, but many students don’t realize a lot of the experience companies ask for can be gained through upper-level classes and other various opportunities on campus; students can participate in organizations concentrated on a specific career field or involve themselves with research sponsored by professors.  

When planned correctly, students can use summer classes to knock out several electives within two months. In turn, the following semesters will be less hectic and allow students to focus on core classes. An empty summer can even mean retaking a course to potentially improve a grade; after all, many companies require students to submit transcripts in order to see how invested they are into their academics.

Although summer courses may be the fastest route to graduating, they still add up tuition money. Luckily, students have the option to find on-campus jobs, either through the University or at various local businesses around the Champaign-Urbana area.

Part-time jobs not only allow students to earn a little extra money coming into the new semester, but they also allow them to build resumes and become more qualified moving toward recruiting season. There are also University jobs that earn students college credit, providing students with another way to get ahead in school.

Students in STEM fields can also reach out to professors for research opportunities. Being part of a research group is almost synonymous with having an internship. Research gives students first-hand experience with the inner workings of their career field while still living on campus. This also alleviates concerns over living expenses.

In short, many students see living on campus as the last thing they’d want to do for the summer. But with so many benefits, it becomes the obvious choice. It’s just a matter of finding an opportunity that’s worth your time. And while the disproportionate amount of social opportunities will take some getting used to, the positives surely outweigh the negatives.

Saketh is a sophomore in LAS.

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