Summer Break and the Internship Issue
Back during my spring semester at SUNY Oswego, when I first started to consider potential jobs for my upcoming summer break, my initial thoughts were centered on what any typical college student would think of: internships.
I wanted to gain as much experience as I could in my given field, learn new skills, and hone the ones I already have. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed this quite a bit for me; fewer internships were available, they were all online and remote, and the ones that were available received far more applications than they normally do, as I was not alone in my hunt for experience.
Fast forward to the end of the spring semester, and I was lucky enough to have a past colleague offer me a position at his company. As an administrative assistant, I would be responsible for communicating with clients, writing content for various platforms, and overall maintaining organization in the company and managing miscellaneous tasks. Not quite what I envisioned to make use of my English and Broadcasting double major, but an opportunity nonetheless that I took full advantage of.
It was not until a second opportunity came my way that I finally found what I was looking for: a way to not only gain valuable experience in my desired field, but learn and cultivate important soft and hard skills as well.
Figuring Out How to Freelance
However, a common misconception is that freelancing takes up a lot of time. It does not have to! The beauty of freelancing is that you can choose what projects you want to apply to, and how much of your time you want to offer to clients. By sectioning off just an hour each day, I have plenty of time each week to look for new projects, complete them, and practice new skills I can add to my freelancing profile. The flexibility of freelancing is what makes it a great supplement to a full time job, a part time job, or even alongside school! When I start up school again in the fall, I will be able to manage freelancing as a side income alongside my class schedule. It naturally lends itself to being able to be done on your own time: whenever you want, however you want, and how often you want. At the end of the summer, I will be starting my senior year of college. The experience and practice I will get this summer freelancing I can transfer to the fall and spring semesters, as I will be able to balance multiple responsibilities. School demands of me arguably more than just having a full time job; while I am at school I have classes, first and foremost, in addition to playing club hockey, being the president of a club, and the head writing tutor of the writing center on campus. By balancing just two things now, I will be able to move on to balancing more responsibilities in the near future, which will only prepare me for the far future with life after college. When I graduate, freelancing can become a long-term side income for me, as I will be able to freelance alongside anything that I do. Whether I go on to attend graduate school, take on a full time job, or an internship, freelancing is something that I can always turn to as a supplement to my primary work.
The Short and Long-Term Benefits of Freelancing
I was lucky enough to participate in a Freelancing program through my college, where I was not only taught how to freelance, but taught several different methods of freelancing. From content creation to transcribing, translating to customer service, there are countless ways to market your abilities to potential clients and apply them to projects that are available. I had no idea just how wide freelancing could extend in terms of what you could do. I was excited to get started and learn all that I could from the course, but then a question arose: since I already had a full time job lined up for the summer, how could I balance freelancing on top of it?It was daunting at first, but I discovered not only that it is possible to freelance with a full time job, but that it is not as hard as it seems! The key to freelancing alongside other responsibilities, and the key to many things as a college student, is time management. This is not simply just to “manage your time well” or use every second of time you can squeeze out, but rather, to schedule out blocks of time dedicated to what you want to do. If you have a full time job like me, you likely have set hours that you are at work, which generally do not fluctuate too much from week to week. For me, this looks like a typical 9 to 5 every week day, so at first, I felt as though I had no extra time to dedicate to freelancing.
How to Use Freelancing to Your Advantage
If you are thinking about starting freelancing but finding that right balance seems daunting, I have some advice. First, when you set aside time for freelancing, start with a small block! It seems so simple, but part of the daunting feeling is how overwhelming it can be to have to worry about a profession on top of another profession, school, or life in general.
By starting with a small block of time each day, you are able to give yourself a structure without overloading yourself with too much at once. Next, before taking on any projects, you should know just how much time you can dedicate to them. This takes away the added stress of feeling unable to meet a deadline, and helps you avoid actually failing to meet a deadline.
The best advice that I can give to anyone is to just give freelancing a try! The great thing about it is that you are not permanently bound to any one company. You are free to pick and choose which projects you apply to and what companies and clients you want to complete work for. You can complete different projects in varying fields, and utilize as many or as little skills as you want. If you just want to complete a project once in a while you can, or you can even use freelancing as your primary job.
Freelancing is a great option for college students like me, during school and beyond graduation, to have the opportunity to do what you want to and have control over your schedule.
About Author: Allyson Voerg
Allyson is a double major in Broadcasting and English, and a Spanish Minor at SUNY Oswego. She is Student Editor-in-Chief for the Subnivean, a literary publication through SUNY Oswego.
Allyson also expanded her copyediting experience with an independent study where she edited the upcoming publication Mi Casa, Tu Casa: Transnational Netflix' Spain alongside a professor.
In addition, Allyson has several years of experience with video filming and editing. She is extensively involved on Oswego's campus as the upcoming Senior Editor of Her Campus, the Secretary of the Women's Club Ice Hockey team, and has various crew positions for WTOP-10, such as a video editor.