Tips when transitioning to a summer job

Many of us grad students are wearing several hats’, we are employees, students, parents, teachers, researchers… the list goes on.

A transition I am currently facing is moving from coursework to temporarily entering the workforce, for the summer, into my previous position as a ‘full-time working professional’.

Others might also be in a similar position as the summer term is currently upon us. While some might still be taking summer courses or attend a program year-round. Transitioning from these roles whether they are short or long stints can be difficult. I came to enjoy working in my PJ’s in the mornings with easy access to comfort items such as my yoga mat, lemon water, and coffee right at my fingertips. On the other hand, having evenings and weekends ‘free’, without harsh deadlines has felt nice too.

Here are some tips that are helping me transition from working as a student to working a ‘9-5’ for the summer.

1. Find employment with transferable skills

If possible, find a summer job that isn’t too challenging. Something that isn’t such a steep learning curve when moving from your research work. Finding a job that has transferable skills such as qualitative or quantitative research skills or writing will help in the transition.

2. Bring back structure gradually

Commuting, meal prep, working out, your social life – it can be a lot to balance. Continue as much as you can in your daily routine, such as lemon water in the morning but don’t be so hard on yourself if you fall out of it. Ease into creating a new routine for this 9-5 and you don’t need to figure it all out within the first week or two back. Easing back into a routine will give you more time to reevaluate some of your daily routines and reflect if they are actually working for you. It might be time to get rid of the old and introduce new habits!

3. Bring a level of professionalism

We are graduate students so professionalism may already come naturally. But it is a good reminder to perhaps even take it to the next level. It’s time to set aside the yoga pants and delete the snooze on your alarm in order to arrive at work and meetings on time.


PRO TIP: Leave your alarm or phone outside of your bedroom. This will force you to get up to stop the alarm. I know this doesn’t sound like fun but it works! 



4. Teamwork makes the dream work 

Transitioning to the workplace will most likely mean less time working on your own and involve an increase of teamwork. Prepare yourself for this transition, saying ‘yes’ to more things, listening skills and a willingness to learn are all important aspects when working in a team.

5. Relax – you aren’t being graded

I’ve talked about fear of failure and perfectionism before on my blog/Instagram. In school, this can be very intense but at work, you aren’t being graded – so, relax a bit. If you have a good manager then you should allow you to take some risks, share your ideas and fail because that is the best way to learn.

6. Reflect on change and uncertainty 

Change and transitions can always feel different and sometimes weird. It is a time of uncertainty that may leave an uneasy feeling in your stomach. Make sure to set aside time to reflect on what you may be feeling. Acknowledge it, let it go and try to embrace and enjoy where you are at in the moment – even if it is a confusing transition.

PRO TIP: Discuss change with your partner, family or close friends. An honest conversation can be an opportunity to express your feelings and it may explain why you have been acting less patient lately. 


7. Create a summer to do list

I mentioned this in my last post but creating a summer to do list can make sure you are fitting in that personal self-care time. Make a list of things you want to do in your free time, whether it be personally or for your research. This will allow you to make the most out of your evenings and weekends and will give you something to look forward to.

8. Stay connected to school colleagues

When heading back to work you will be surrounded by different colleagues that your school colleagues. Try to keep in touch with your friends and colleagues at school throughout the summer. It will give you a sense of grounding back to why you are pursuing grad school. E-mails, phone calls, Skype calls – consistency is key.


What are some things that help you transition from school to work?


Until next time,

Christine xo




P.S Don’t forget to use #ScholarCulture #ScholarSquad #ScholarSunday to keep me updated on your experiences as grad students.

P.P.S Applying to grad school for the 2019/20 school year? Check out this FREE eBook on 5 steps to a successful grad school application. Are you in grad school and struggling to find easy lunches to bring to campus? Check out three FREE recipes and full nutritional information here.

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