Things to do this summer?
March 16, 2010 9:25 AM   Subscribe

What can I do this summer?

I'm a sophomore in college and I'd like to find something to do this summer that is:

1. Cheap, or possibly even gets me money
2. Takes me away from the Metro-Atlanta area(where I live)
3. Teaches me something, either about life or something specific
4. Doesn't require a car, since I don't have one.

Things I've considered:

REU program - I'm a physics student so I figured this would be good for me

Couchsurfing across the US

Internship in another city and stay with someone I know or couchsurf while I'm there.

Any other suggestions?
posted by fizzzzzzzzzzzy to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by unixrat at 9:26 AM on March 16, 2010

Go WWOOFing! It meets all your req's and then some.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2010

This Sierra Club Internship, if you're the outdoorsy/hiking sort (and handy with a camera and/or the internet).
posted by brainmouse at 9:48 AM on March 16, 2010

Sleep away summer camp counselor.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:53 AM on March 16, 2010

Internship in another city and stay with someone I know or couchsurf while I'm there.

Some internship programs will pay for your living expenses, although I'm guessing in this economy it will probably be relatively difficult to get any kind of internship as a sophomore. You should still do your best to get accepted for one though, if only to get practice for next year and your eventual job search when you graduate.

So use your college's career services system (most students don't bother doing that until they start looking for a job), go to job fairs, create an up-to-date resume and give it to anyone who will take it (both online and in person), try to get interviews, etc. Job fairs are especially helpful because you can get some face-to-face time with representatives from companies who can give you an idea of what they are about and what they are looking for. Again, regardless of your success this will all be good practice for job hunting later, and since there is a lot less pressure for you right now you can make mistakes and learn from them before it's really crunch time. You'll also get an idea of what kinds of companies are hiring in your field and specifically which companies tend to look for talent in your particular college.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:04 AM on March 16, 2010

Seconding summer camp counselor. I did it my sophomore summer of college, and loved it. Worked at a quintessential summer camp in Maine. Highly recommended; it will teach you plenty.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:52 AM on March 16, 2010

Work for a national park concessionaire somewhere- you'll make a little money and likely get to live somewhere cool for free.

When I was a sophomore in college not wanting to live with my parents, I worked as a bus driver for a lodge in Glacier Bay National Park (in southeast Alaska) for a summer. The pay was crap, but there was staff kayak gear and a great community which is pretty much all I wanted. They provided room and board and I met a lot of interesting fellow workers from all over the world who remain friends to this day. All I had to do was get to Gustavus, Alaska and they trained me and took care of me from there. I know that Denali does the same kind of summer hiring, too.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:07 AM on March 16, 2010

Work at Disney World as a monorail operator.
posted by anniecat at 11:08 AM on March 16, 2010

Kind of like charmedimsure's idea:
A friend and I (both in academia) discussed last night how something like a summer job fishing in Alaska is an experience that we wished we'd had and it should be encouraged more. It meets your requirements.
posted by knile at 11:19 AM on March 16, 2010

Sorry to support the "boring" choice, but if you're planning on grad school, I would push the REU. It's an investment in your career, and it can be a lot of fun. Plus, you'll meet like-minded people who will be an important part of your network, and research experiences will help you A LOT as you look for fellowships and graduate admissions.
posted by JMOZ at 1:29 PM on March 16, 2010

If you're going to apply for an REU you should do it NOW - I did two summer REUs and apps are usually due right about now. My research experience was mixed - it is often difficult to jam an undergrad into a long and involved research project for the summer, especially with stuff that has a high learning curve (I am PChem, I did two REUs in very physic-y labs with complicated equipment) and I have had this experience while mentoring undergrads in my graduate lab (we do the same type of research that I did in both REUs). That being said, REUs really give you a taste of what grad school/academic research is like, if you're planning on going that route. The programs tend to be fairly competitive since it is a decent-paying summer job that often pays living expenses.

Overall I thought it was a great opportunity - I got to live in a totally different part of the country for a summer (the first REU was at my undergrad, second was far away) and meet a lot of great people in my field and even learn some stuff, and present my research at a regional conference - so yeah, definitely consider it for this summer or next.
posted by sararah at 1:56 PM on March 16, 2010

life guard at a beach and live in a rented shorehouse with fellow lifeguards
posted by WeekendJen at 11:21 AM on March 17, 2010

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