This post was originally published on FindSpark.
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It's January and everyone is starting a new internship...except you. Take a breath and don't panic. You have options!
1. Get an Internship
There's no reason for you to think it's too late. I promise you there are still internships out there.
Maybe everyone applied for the same internship at big companies, and the rest of the internships are open, still waiting for applications. Maybe some employers only recently realized they needed to hire a spring intern. Or maybe some incredible company turned down 40 applicants because they were waiting for the perfect intern: you.
You don't have to give up now. Keep searching and applying. Speak with professors or mentors who might be able to work with you to create a personalized internship. If you really want an internship this spring, you can get one.
Not all volunteering is shelving cans at a food pantry or cleaning cages at an animal shelter. While those are great ways to contribute your time, there are other ways to volunteer and help people while also preparing for your career.
Plenty of volunteer positions will give you a proper title and will look just as good on your resume as an internship.
Just because you're a volunteer doesn't mean you have to put the work in a separate section of your resume, or use the word "volunteer" in your title. It's work experience. Put it there, and list your job duties just like you would an internship.
Deserving nonprofits need consistent part-time help but can't afford to hire people to fill the roles they desperately need filled. Many places like museums, libraries, and the Humane Society use volunteers to do their admin and clerical work.
VolunteerMatch.org is a great place to look for volunteer positions that will give you transferable skills. You may be surprised at the variety of administrative and creative long-term positions that are available to you. The only difference between those and regular jobs is the number of hours required per week (fewer) and that they're unpaid (but it's for a good cause!).
3. Focus on School
You don't have to do something extra every semester of every year. Consider making the spring semester the one you get a 4.0, or a 3.5, or perfect attendance in your classes, or whatever goal it is you want to set.
Plenty of people only did one or even zero internships in college, lived to tell about it, and even got jobs.
4. Beat the Masses to the Summer Internships
While everyone else is in a whirlwind of school, jobs, and interning, you have some extra time on your hands. Use it to find the perfect summer internship, and get yourself hired before anyone else even begins working on their resumes.
5. Do Something for Yourself
With always-increasing student loans and competition in the job search, on top of it being hard to get a job in general, us millennials often get caught up in the race against our peers to become employed and independent after graduation.
It may seem like everyone around you has a spring internship and is therefore an infinite number of steps ahead of you.
That isn't necessarily true and does not make you a failure. Don't let yourself stress about it all semester or worry that you're falling behind. Instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing, take this semester as an opportunity to pay more attention to yourself.
Read that series of books you've been meaning to read, start going to the gym at your school, break up with your stupid boyfriend and fully recover - whatever it is you need to do.
Take care of yourself this semester and you'll be feeling a whole lot better about not having that internship. Maybe you'll even be thankful for the opportunity to step back from the race for a brief moment in time.
How are you spending the spring semester? Let us know in the comments below.