Headshots: School’s Out!

THAT’S RIGHT ALICE COOPER, the winter semester is DONE. Time to put away the text books and suit up for summer jobs.

Wait. Decent summer jobs don’t exist anymore. Back in the day, when Headshots was getting its MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia, a student could spend their summers working hard and save up enough money to pay for most of the next year’s tuition, 200 condoms, and 1,600 beers.

But because of corrupt politicians and a capitalist driven society, tuition is now more expensive than a 2012 Audi A6 with a trunk full of cocaine and Kardashian divorce settlements.

This ain’t your daddy’s summer.

So now that you have a four month break from your Sculpture and Women’s Studies degree, what are you going to do? How does a young coed spend the summer now that there are no jobs? Headshots considers some inspired summer pastimes for the young and stupid.


Unpaid internships are the biggest scam going. Originally conceived by the Russians in 1938 as a way of tricking young Soviets into moving to Georgia to write poetry for a summer, the unpaid internship finally arrived in America in the latter part of the twentieth century. Now they’ve replaced what were once well-paying entry level positions in companies making money like Bernie Madoff playing Monopoly with a mentally challenged monkey.

You’ll spend the summer getting coffee, cleaning up offices, destroying documents, providing alibis, caddying, committing fraud, and being sexually harassed by your woefully under-qualified boss. And your reward? One day, you’ll get a poorly written reference letter that will get you a, wait for it, unpaid internship.

This option will be especially attractive to Arts students.


Back in the day, when tuition was pennies and beer flowed free from the drinking fountains, Headshots and our peers used to summer in Europe.

A little time in Florence for culture, some beaching on Corfu for some easy lovin’, and week or six in Amsterdam filled with Heineken, blondes on bicycles, and pot that will make your eyes bleed.

While tuition is up and beer no longer flows free, Europe has the economy of Third World African nation without blood diamonds. If you can find a cheap flight over there, the Euros are giving it away. And we mean everything! Even Germany is worth a visit, if just to remind the Krauts who won the war.


A grand summer tradition in the Headshots household was late night pool hopping. Grab a few buddies, a few girls, a lot of booze, and then jump over back fences in the neighborhood and do some late night skinny dipping.

Anything to get the girls naked, right? even if it involves a little trespassing.

But as a college student, you’re too old and refined to sneak into someone’s above ground at 3 am high on discount tequila just so you can see some erect nipples above the over-chlorinated water. So the logical next step is cottage-hopping, made easier by an economy that leaves un-owned, unsold, and unoccupied cottages on lakes all over the country.

Sneak into a cottage, usually midweek, and squat for a few days until the owners return. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t, but the wondering and worrying will keep that young studious heart of yours pounding like a undergrad about to get some. Stocked fridges, free booze, sunsets on the dock.

Sure it’s a crime, but it’s a good one. And the fresh air will do you good.


Stop laughing. Headshots believes its good to give back. We spent the last three summers volunteering for Doctors Without Borders.

Okay, maybe not so much volunteering as stealing oxycontin intended for rural Kenyan hospitals, but that doesn’t take away from the value of volunteering any. It’ll look good on a resume when you’re applying for grad school (trust us, you’re going to grad school — it’s like being a freshman, but with a better apartment) and it’s a great way to meet innocent, cute, impressionable, and vulnerable coeds who’ll spend their summer days giving back, and their summer nights giving it up.


Summer courses are the great untold secret of colleges. We’re conditioned in high school to believe that summer school is for stoners, failures, and that weird dude who sat in the back of Intro to Philosophy eating his text book and humming Limp Bizkit songs.

But in college nothing could be further from the truth. First, you’ll dig the air conditioning. Second, the courses are taught by younger, smarter, untenured profs who will surely buy you drinks after class so that you think they’re cool. Third, the grades come easier. Everyone enrolled in summer course gets at least an A-. That’s a scientific fact.

And while you’re skirting by in a half-assed summer course, drunk at two in the afternoon on a patio with beers bought by a desperate hipster prof hanging onto the last shred of their youth, getting As, your parents will think it’s because of your steadfast commitment to your education. There’s no downside here, kids.

Now that’s a summer.


Mike Spry is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 Quebec Writers’ Federation A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. His most recent work is Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011).

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Headshots: Let’s Blow This Fascist Popsicle Stand
Headshots: If it Ain’t Illegal in Arizona, it Ain’t Funny
Headshots: Strange Bed Etiquette: 5 Rules of Engagement