Tracking Down Summer Internships
As if being in college, attending classes, and involving oneself in extracurricular activities weren’t enough, another major component of the undergraduate experience at Vanderbilt is finding productive ways to spend one’s time during the summer. This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, as pre-medical students generally find internships or research programs during the winter. So, my search has begun, and will likely continue for a month or two until I have found some way to occupy myself this summer.
When I first started thinking about how to spend my first summer of college last year, I had absolutely no idea what to do. I knew that I didn’t want to take summer classes, because though they are a very smart idea, I needed a break. So, not knowing what the best course of action was, I did what I do best: barrage professors I didn’t know with emails until one of them offered me a position in their lab. By sending out about 15 emails to various researchers, I was able to find a position in a lab at the University of Kentucky studying circadian rhythms in mice. This was fun and all, but the main thing I learned from the experience was that I really, really do not like mice.
This year, I wanted to opt into something that deals with humans a bit more. I plan to shadow doctors wherever I am, and to hopefully do research somewhere a little more in line with my academic interests. While I haven’t secured any position yet, I hope that this summer will be a learning experience both in terms of what I am researching in particular as well as regarding the research process as a whole.
One of the best things that tracking down summer internships has taught me is how to ask for help. I am generally pretty reserved, and will always try to complete a problem independently if I can. However, when it comes to finding a summer position, it’s important to use your network of peers, whether it is to find potential programs you might be interested in, or to ask friends what skills you should list on your resume. While networking is still very low on my list of skills, having to seek out programs for the summer has definitely pushed me to improve in this arena.
While schooling at Vanderbilt ends in May, the pursuit of professional and personal development is a year-round process. If you have any recommendations for summer programs (plz help), or any questions about life at Vanderbilt, please contact me at email@example.com