I'm a second year physics major and I'm considering starting a co-op job doing research starting this summer. The outcome of this is that I would end up graduating in the fall, and my plan after school is to get a PhD. Since hardly any PhD programs start in the spring, I'd have a good 9 months with nothing to do, and I'd have to start paying off my mountain of student loans after 6 months. What do people normally do during this awkward gap? I'm worried about finding a job when they know I'm only going to be there for 9 months. Is a co-op job worth this hassle or should I just stick to only doing research full time during the summers? The main reasons I want a co-op job are because I'd be finishing with 4 semesters worth of full time research instead of 2, and to graduate with less debt (I'm looking at around $80,000-$90,000 in student loans upon graduation if I don't co-op, and maybe $60,000-$70,000 if I do).