Tori Smith – Opinion Columnist
It’s almost that time of year again, my fellow Gusties. What time is it, you may be wondering? I’m glad you asked. As the beautiful Troy Bolton once sang in the iconic film High School Musical 2, “Summertime. It’s our vacation.”
For many Gusties, including myself, a vacation is just what we need. After a tiring and stressful year due to the pandemic and lack of a proper spring break, summer couldn’t arrive sooner.
This year was almost as bad as the year Troy had to decide between basketball and the school musical. Suffice it to say, we all deserve a break.
Many students are starting to finalize their summer plans whether it be jobs, internships, trips, or other activities. For Senior and Weekly Staff Writer Emma Lohman, summer is an exciting time filled with new adventures.
Her first adventure comes in just a few weeks with Commencement on Saturday, May 15.
“As we near graduation, I am feeling very reflective and a little nervous about the future. I will miss living on the Hill and being close to all my friends. I am excited to be done with homework, though,” Lohman said.
Lohman doesn’t want to waste any time this summer. Just three days after graduation she plans to road-trip to Colorado with three friends to hike and explore Denver.
“I am very excited to road-trip with my friends, as it has become a bit of a tradition. Last summer we went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and hiked at Painted Rocks National Lakeshore, and during the summer of 2019 we went to Thunder Bay, Canada and went hiking at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park,” Lohman said.
After that, she plans to spend a lot of time at her cabin and make a second road-trip to Nashville, TN with her family. Then, in July she starts a new job as Project Management Associate at Boom Lab.
Scoring a job right out of undergrad is quite the achievement, especially during a global pandemic when many employers aren’t necessarily looking to hire fresh graduates.
During economic recessions like the one we are in now, “unemployment rate for younger workers often rises faster and higher compared with older workers due, in part, to employer hiring skewing away from less experienced workers,” according to researchers Elise Gould and Melat Kassa in their Economic Policy Institute report, “Young workers hit hard by the COVID-19 economy.”
Currently, the unemployment rate for young people (16-24) is around 11 percent, nearly double that of the overall unemployment rate which is around 6 percent.
So, what are we to do? Lohman suggests using college resources to help with job hunting.
“Take advantage of the Gustavus Mentoring Program and attend the MN Private College Job and Internship Fair. Also, practice interviewing, and make sure to reach out to your network,” Lohman said.
For students still unsure of their summer job plans, you’re not alone. After completing what had to have been fifty-sixty applications to various summer internships (don’t blame me for losing count), I’ve yet to seal the deal on any. I’ve heard back from a total of one so far. Fingers crossed.
Whether I land the internship or not, I’m still excited for my summer. I’m planning on going up to my cabin on free weekends, fishing off the dock with my three-year-old nephew, and rolling out the Lily Pad mat in the lake.
To find out how other Gusties are spending their coveted three-month break, I asked my followers on Instagram what their summer plans are.
“I will hopefully be working in a National park,” Senior and Weekly Variety Editor Tyra Ericson said.
I’m a little jealous of this one, I’m not going to lie. Working outside during the summer months is an amazing way to spend a break.
“I will be volunteering at a COVID testing clinic,” Junior Maddie Sweeney said.
As COVID cases continue to fluctuate in Minnesota, there is an increasing need for volunteers at testing sites. Thank you to Sweeney and all the other amazing volunteers that have helped during this pandemic.
For some Gusties living far from home, this summer will be more of a reunion than anything else.
“I will finally get to see family for the first time in a year,” Senior Darby Hurlbert said.
Originally from Bakersfield, CA, Hurlbert is excited for the ability to finally travel back home to see family and friends.
“I’m going to go on the pontoon and swim and, um, hit dingers and, oh, fish,” three-year-old future Gustie and my nephew Bennett Smith responded. I’m glad to know we have similar plans for the summer.
Whether you have plans set for this summer or not, you can at least sleep easy knowing long, class-free days are ahead of us.