After a long first year full of new experiences, people and adventures you might want to go back home and spend some quality time with family and friends, and that’s great! However, you may find other options if going back is not in your plans. You can stay in the US during the summer, whether you are working or not, and you can either work on- or off-campus. If you stay on-campus, you will also be charged a fee, which some jobs pay for. If you work off-campus, you will have to apply for a Curricular Practical Training visa (CPT), a process that Megan can walk you through. Truth is, St. Olaf offers plenty of opportunities for their students during summer breaks, through jobs and internships, which will all help you grow, learn, and develop skills towards your future career (all while making money $$).
Can I stay on campus?
St. Olaf welcomes students to stay on campus during summer break. For a $10/day fee, you can stay in one of the summer residence halls. During this time, you are free to choose whether you want to get on a meal plan at the college’s cafeteria, which tends to be more expensive but may fit your schedule best, or explore your chef skills and learn to master the kitchen. If cooking sounds more down your alley, you can hop on the Northfield bus and get to the store, or order groceries online through Instacart, and buy the supplies you will later be cooking in the dorm’s kitchen. You must know that not everyone staying on-campus over summer is working, some are taking summer courses, some have internships in town, and some are staying there because it’s most convenient for them. For sure there are fewer people around and so you get to build a tight community among those who stay and get to know people.
What can I do on campus?
If going back home was expensive and you prefer to stay in the US, don’t worry you won’t be watching Netflix all the time. St. Olaf has many resources and opportunities that you can benefit from and keep you busy!
Firstly, you can get a job on-campus and work up to 40 hours a week. Some college employers such as the cafeteria, the Admissions Office, the library, and others, hire student workers during summer, and some might even offer free housing (on-campus) during the time of your employment.
Second, you can work as a Research Assistant to a St. Olaf professor through the St. Olaf Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI). The CURI program provides opportunities for St. Olaf students from all academic disciplines to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular subject through working closely with a St. Olaf faculty member in a research framework. Such research is an awesome paid opportunity to engage closely with your studies, develop your research and organizational skills, and expand your knowledge! This position is most popular among second- and third-year students, yet, all class years are encouraged to apply. (A pro-tip is to talk to the professor leading the project before you apply so that you are able to make a connection and hear more about the project.)
What can I do off-campus?
St. Olaf also assists students in finding Summer jobs and internships off-campus and across the country. The Piper Center for Vocation and Career “provides resources and experiences designed to help students leverage their liberal arts education to achieve their full potential.” The Piper Center has coaches that can guide you through job application processes, connect you with alumni and partner organizations, as well as provide financial assistance for underpaid and unpaid opportunities. Through an off-campus job, you can practice having a more independent lifestyle while navigating the real world and finding what you like. All experiences you engage in will prepare you for your future career in some way, so why not do that if you’re also receiving financial support! Some sponsorships and assistance provided through the Piper Center may also be applicable to internships in your hometown if the requirements are met.