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Getting ready for college; reflections on the summer/jobs

  1. Jul 22, 2012 #1
    Hi everyone. I am getting ready to move in to college (Cornell University), as move-in date is on Aug. 17. I will be majoring in Engineering, but I do not yet know what type. I am leaning more toward Applied Physics or perhaps Civil Engineering. I'm taking an Intro to Engineering class, which is Modern Structures, in addition to the other requisite classes like Mechanics (didn't get AP credit), Calculus, and Swimming (I know!). I will try to study for the placement exam so I can get placed into Multivari.

    I am not sure how college will be different than high school. My Mechanics class, for example, has three different types of "sections," Lecture, Discussion, and Lab. I have heard that time for classes will be shorter, so I will have more freedom to plan my time, but other than that I have not heard much.

    I also wanted to write about my disappointment about not being able to find employment for the summer. I applied to many positions, from zoos, museums, summer camps, to offices, but I only received one offer that I couldn't take (they wanted me to work until Aug. 31st). I am still very depressed about this, and am still applying for jobs, even though there are only three weeks left.

    To be honest, I may have started very late. I was very preoccupied with coursework and the college admissions process, and as a result did not start looking for jobs until late April. This may have been a major factor in my inability to get a job. I also do not know where to look for jobs

    Perhaps another factor is a lack of connections. My good friend was in a similar position as I was, until last week when he found a job at an office through his mother. My parents are first generation immigrants, are uneducated, and barely speak English. While I do not want to blame my parents for my shortcomings, it seems that at my young age, they are the only "connections" that I know of, and they obviously have none.

    My failure has made me worried about the near future. Most immediately, I do not know what will happen for next summer. I do not know when to start looking (some suggest as early as Nov.), and I do not know where to look for them (company websites? craigslist? Contacts?). I also do not know how many applications I will have to send out, and whether I will be able to develop the "connections" that seem so important nowadays. Maybe someone will be able to provide guidance with this.

    I don't think it's wrong for me to also worry about the future, after I have graduated. Many of the same concerns that I have now still apply.

    Right now, I am volunteering at the laboratory of a local university. I have volunteered there for the last two years, to complete my research project for Intel/Siemens. This year, I am helping a visiting professor there with his own project. But as I have helped there already for two years, it is getting dry and I want to try something else. Additionally, I am not getting any money doing that, and along with my failure, I seem to have lost motivation. I have developed a great relationship with the professor at the university, but I do not know if this will become stagnant. In my current pessimism, I think this is a "dead end," so to speak.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2012 #2
    Summer work is not easy to find in this economy, so your situation is hardly unique. However, you could network through the volunteer work you do with the university. Another thing to do is to get involved in a hobby of some sort.

    For example, I got offers for work years ago because I was a ham radio enthusiast. However, I have also seen people make connections at a house of worship, at a local golf club, through scouting or 4-H, and many more. Your interests do not necessarily have to be related to your major.

    It is unrealistic for you to expect your parents to help here. Even if they could help, this is a time when you really need to learn to forage on your own.

    At this point I would canvass a few companies you think you might like to work for and see if they have an intern program for the winter or even next spring. Some places even advertise on the Internet. For example, see http://www.wsscwater.com/file/HumanResources/InternshipApplication01252012.pdf [Broken]

    (Disclaimer: though this is my employer, I am not a manager, nor do I have any connection with any aspect of program)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Jul 22, 2012 #3
    When I was in HS, I worked some manual labor jobs here and there during summer through temp agencies.

    Also don't tell employers that you only looking for few weeks work unless they ask or specify in their job contract.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
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