Balancing vacation and internships

It’s always an odd balance to strike: As a student, I’ve always valued summer as time to relax and not worry about homework or other academic responsibilities.

But for the past two summers, I have not done that. I have worked, often fulltime, in order to get more work or internship experience under my belt. Evenings were my only time to do anything but work. And even then, sometimes my internship flooded over into home. I even had a summer class last year in the evenings, and readings for that often took up any time I would have had to read for fun.

This summer has been a little different. I’m interning at PBS MediaShift, and it often lets me determine my own schedule and work from home. As long as the work gets done on time, the schedule is very flexible.

It gives me the opportunity to enjoy my summer as well as getting valuable experience. By cutting out commuting time and working on my own schedule, I find time that can be used for work. The responsibilities gets done more quickly. Rather than sitting in the office twiddling my thumbs on a slow day, I can relax, read a book, watch TV or a movie, and play a video game. (I just played through half of “Assassin’s Creed III,” probably the most video gaming I’ve done in years.)

That’s all the more important to me this summer, since my time between my spring and fall semester only lasts a month and a half. On July 7, I fly out to Costa Rica for my fall semester at la Universidad Nacional in Heredia. Rather than enjoying my summer break for July and August, I’ll be in taking a full course load.

Finding time to recharge is valuable. Without it, we become workaholic zombies. That’s why I’m so grateful to have the time I’ve found in this internship. I’m able to use this month to my advantage to build up my writing samples and journalism experiences as well as finding time to simply enjoy my vacation.

It’s a hard balance to strike for most college students, especially for this one. I’m very good at filling my time with work to do. Not only am I interning at PBS, but I’m also reporting weekly for Latin Pulse and finishing out my service as editor-in-chief of The Eagle. As my summer vacation draws to a close (already!), I’m glad I’ve found the time to basically do everything I wanted to do in a third of the time.

Reading list for the summer


  • “Beyond Bin Laden:  America and the Future of Terror” by Jon Meacham, et. al.
  • “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare
  • “Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing” by Mark Briggs
  • “Six Novels in Woodcuts” by Lynd Ward


  • “Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin
  • “The Obamians: How a Band of Newcomers Redefined American Power” by James Mann
  • “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” by John le  Carré
  • “The Trial” by Franz Kafka
  • “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo
  • “The Signal and the Noise” by Nate Silver