And What are You Doing This Summer?

Maddie Alexander-Finch considers the upcoming summer and what it means to students.


Despite the academic year not officially ending until June 17th, with only seven weeks of lectures and seminars and final exams standing between the Exeter student and summer, thoughts have turned to plans for this 15 week period off.

Gone are the days of viewing the summer as a period of vegging out and getting as tanned as possible. As University student, there is a pressure to use this time productively.

Whilst the most popular choices are internships, voluntary placements, work schemes abroad and full time work, the decision over what to do over the summer seems of high priority to the majority of students.

Our inboxes are flooded daily with emails from Student Services advertising a variety of summer placement options. From working in a school in Hong Kong to working in water security programmes, the university boasts connections with multiple “CV boosting” opportunities.

But this buzz about what to do over this summer period seems indicative of a bigger concern experienced by students: the concern over what they are going to do following graduation.

Many second year students have been sent the ominous email from their personal tutor, summoning them to “discuss their academic career and plans for the future”. As a second year English student, this seems rather ironic, considering we have only had two pieces of assessed work that counts towards our overall degree.

Summer opportunities, such as the sought after internship, are no longer undertaken for pure enjoyment. Students are very aware that taking part in these programmes could be the way (and could be indeed necessary) to secure a job in the future.

However you choose to spend the summer, I encourage you to make the most of it. Whether that means doing a work placement or taking on the, apparently popular, feat of climbing of Kilimanjaro.

For second years in particular, this is the last “summer holiday” we are going to get.