So you didn’t secure a summer internship … now what?

We’ve all been there. March and April roll around, and you’re faced with the unfortunate realization that, for whatever reason, you didn’t land an internship for the summer. Whether you just didn’t plan very well and began looking too late (a personal experience of mine in the past) or you applied to every internship out there and heard nothing back, you might be stuck feeling disappointed and maybe even a bit panicked. 

First of all, don’t beat yourself up about this! Regardless of why you didn’t secure an internship, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a summer to just relax and unwind OR getting a “regular job” during the summer, if you need to make some money. An internship that revolves around your interests and prepares you for any future professional plans is always an amazing opportunity, but no one should ever feel like they failed just because they didn’t manage to secure one this go-round.  So don’t fret! There are still plenty of ways to get the most out of your summer, even without an internship.

Last summer, when I didn’t have an internship, I decided to get a regular job in order to make money while also taking some time to focus on myself and truly unwind from the intense academic year that I had. Several “regular jobs” involve working in customer service, which will always be a super valuable experience to have in any workforce. Try not to view your job as a less valuable responsibility, but instead as an experience that can help you in the future. It’s very common to be asked in an interview for internships or jobs about a time you had to resolve a conflict or work in a team. Those types of experiences are extremely common in retail and customer service jobs and are sure to give you some fruitful responses to these interview questions down the road.

While working in retail last summer, I also decided to dedicate the break to rejuvenation after a long academic year. I recommend doing this after every academic year no matter what your job status is that summer, as it really helps you take a break for real. I am constantly going and doing things, especially during the academic year, so making the conscious decision to take a step back really helped me rest my mind and body over the summer and made for a far more successful school year afterward. If you decide to take this summer off from working and school, try making most of your actions and decisions intentional. Whether that’s drinking stress-relief tea every night or meditation every morning to start your day off on a positive note, figure out what activities and people really help keep you happy and healthy. This is also a great time to develop some positive habits that you can take with you into the next school year as well! 

Everyone is currently living in a tough and confusing time, so the most important thing to remember right now is that, internship secured or not, the most important thing for us all to do this summer is stay healthy and take care of ourselves.


Class of 2021
Hey y’all, I’m a History and Gender and Women Studies double major and a French minor from Chicago! I concentrate in all things Black and Black women studies and love long-distance running.

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