Since our days in grade school, summer has been viewed as a time to let loose and not even glance at a book (unless you’re into that which we fully and completely encourage.)  In college that all seems to change. Your days spent by the pool turn into days spent behind a desk.

Sure, you might enjoy your freshman year summer back at home with your friends. Maybe the next summer you will use your Junior Journey to take a life-changing trip to England or India. But, by the time your junior and senior year rolls around the pace of your summers drastically change. Suddenly you could care less about your bathing suit color, and are frantically searching for an internship or summer job.

Many of you may have sat jealously scrolling through Facebook and Instagram posts of your friends luxurious vacations as you unwound from your 9 to 5. You may not realize it at the time, but the experience you gain from a summer of work can make a lasting impact on your life. It is a taste of reality to have a job or internship, but wouldn’t you rather have a taste before it sneaks up and bites you?

The real world is a scary place, but a summer job or internship that pertains to your major of choice can be just what you need for preparation. Take the three months we have off to your advantage. During those three months you can test out the field you want to pursue without the commitment. You are there to learn, but you don’t have to stay with the company forever. Or maybe and hopefully, you will have the opposite reaction, you will find a place where you can see yourself working one day.

Either way internships and summer jobs are made for the experience, the connections and the lesson. The experience is priceless. Employers want to see as much experience in your particular field of interest as possible. The summer work that you do can really add up and help to boost your resume.

You don’t make connections with people by sitting in front of your television screen. You make them by going out there and making yourself known in your area of interest. Even if your internship isn’t exactly where you see yourself working the rest of your life, the people you work with will remember you, and can come in handy where letters of recommendation are concerned. Go out there and show the working world what a great asset you are.

It all comes down to the lesson you learn through your summer job or internship. You may learn that you are really terrible at filing, but excel in the customer service department. Maybe you realize that the major you’ve spent your college career on is your true passion and you can’t imagine doing anything else.

You may have been envious of your friends who spent their summers in Hawaii, but in five years from now that won’t matter. What will matter is the valuable experience you gain through a summer spent working or interning for a company you are interested in. Plus, once you have your dream job, you will be successful enough to take multiple trips to Hawaii.