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What to Do in the Summer of Second Year

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If, like me, you’re studying a three-year course, the summer of second year is a strange one. You simultaneously know that this is probably the last full summer you'll have off, stress free, and that this is the time to really prepare for your life after uni. So many of my friends are using this summer in very different ways, so here are some ideas on how you can best spend your summer…

Take on a summer internship

Many people apply for internships during the year. These are on the whole very competitive but extremely worthwhile. What I will emphasize is that generally speaking, only specific types of industry offer these organized internships, such as banks and large corporations. These internships are great experiences though, and will definitely look good on your CV. However, they’re not the only option. I’ve found that if you didn't want a career in banking or consulting, there was very little available in terms of structured internships. If you can relate to this, here are some other options…

Email companies to ask for work experience

This is particularly ideal if you'd like to do something in a creative industry, like me, or if you just haven't yet found an internship you're interested in. The idea might not come to mind straight away, but it usually allows you to get a more personal, tailored experience than a structured internship. For example, I emailed a philosophy magazine asking if I could come in for a few days to see how publishing a magazine works. From that I managed to have two days a week for a month with the magazine and even got my cover design published! While that's a very specific case, it’s the sort of thing that happens fairly often from just emailing and seeing what happens. In the email you should explain why you'd like to intern at that company specifically, and definitely attach a CV!

Get a summer job

If you're not sure what you want to do, and you're not up for potentially unpaid work experience, then getting a summer job is a great idea. That way there’s another thing to put on your CV and you can earn some money to get you through the gap until your next student loan payment! If you didn't want to work the whole summer you could take a part time job, leaving yourself some time to enjoy the summer too.

Go traveling

If you don’t want to take time off after you graduate, then the summer of second year gives you the perfect opportunity to travel. No responsibilities, and a whole three/four months’ off seems like an idyllic way to spend the summer. Alternatively, you could work for some of it and go on holiday for the rest.

And finally, relax!


I think there’s lot of pressure during the summer of second year. However, it's important to realize that there isn't as much of a rush as you think. Of course, it’s natural for panic to set in after you realize there is only one year left of university, but a year is still a long time. So give yourself a well-earned rest this summer, so you’re ready to take on your final year with a refreshed sense of energy and motivation.

There are of course lots of other ways to spend the summer, but these are the five most common I've come across. I hope this helps!

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Written by Katie Roach
Katie is a third year student at UCL studying Philosophy. She is originally from Kent but now lives in London with 3 other Philosophy students. She discusses her experiences and provides advice on a range of topics.

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1 Comment

Got a good nostalgia while reading the article. Remember my summer break when I was trying to find a job cuz I needed money for vacation. One of the greatest times in my life.