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How to manage an internship during the school year

Because you CAN do both!!!

Sarah Xu

October 11, 2023


manage an internship during the school year

Taking on an internship during the academic year in college is a crucial step in shaping your future career, offering invaluable real-world experience and networking opportunities. However, balancing the demands of coursework, extracurricular activities, and an active social life alongside your internship can seem overwhelming and present as a challenge to many. Despite these challenges, many understand the pros of prioritizing real work experience during the school year, and will try to balance both a valuable college and work experience. We want you to excel in both, so in this article, we will dive into the essential strategies and tips to successfully manage an internship while navigating the rigors of college life. From time management and effective communication to setting clear priorities, we'll give you a starting point to help you start planning for a busy, productive, and balanced school year! 

1️⃣ Create a Detailed Schedule and Prioritize Tasks:

  • Use digital tools or planners to organize your classes, work hours, and study sessions

    • We love Notion and Google Calendar, or if you’re a visual person, invest in a physical planner

  • Allocate specific time blocks for each school and work commitment to avoid overloading your day

    • Begin every week by taking time to write in all your deadlines, tasks, and reminders for the week so you don’t have to store all of it in your head

2️⃣ Prioritize Tasks:

  • Identify your most important tasks and assignments, focusing on deadlines and urgency

    • Realize you may not hit all your goals everyday because, well life happens - prioritize daily tasks and give yourself some wiggle room

  • Complete high-priority work during your most productive hours

    • Understand in what environments and times you work best in, and actively create spaces for productive time

3️⃣ Time Management:

  • Avoid procrastination by breaking tasks into smaller, manageable chunks

    • Big tasks can be daunting and leave you paralyzed in stress! Break down big things into milestones and checkpoints to keep you on track and stress free

  • Utilize time-management techniques to maintain focus

    • If you need to separate your day and tasks into hourly blocks, block off times for different tasks that make sense to you so you know what to expect throughout the week

4️⃣ Effective Communication:

  • Keep open lines of communication with professors and supervisors, explaining your work commitments

    • It’s okay to ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask and talk to your professors and supervisors because they only want you to succeed

  • Notify your employer about your class schedule and any potential conflicts in advance

    • The worst thing you can do during an internship is drop the ball and not show your employers your full potential. Have open communication with your employers and be truthful about your time commitments so you can work out a flow that works for both of you

5️⃣ Set Realistic Goals:

  • Establish achievable academic and work-related goals to stay motivated

    • Set monthly and semester goals to determine your purpose in your academic and professional life to stay focused and in the moment

  • Regularly review and adjust your goals based on your progress

6️⃣ Utilize Campus Resources:

  • Take advantage of academic support services, such as tutoring and study groups

    • There’s no need to drop the ball on school just to focus solely on your internship! You can do both by using the support systems built into your academics to give you help when you need it

  • Visit career services for advice on balancing work and school

    • There are so many counselors and career experts in your school that can also give you tips

7️⃣ Practice Self-Care:

  • Ensure you get enough sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and exercise regularly

    • Take short breaks during the day to recharge and avoid burnout, and learn to say NO when necessary

  • Learning to decline additional commitments when your schedule is full can be difficult, but your time in college is precious

    • Prioritize your well-being and avoid spreading yourself too thin (aka protect your peace!)

8️⃣ Seek Support:

  • Lean on friends, family, and mentors for emotional and academic support

  • Consider talking to a counselor or therapist if stress becomes overwhelming - there’s no shame in needing extra support

9️⃣ Be Flexible and Easily Adaptable:

  • Be prepared to adjust your schedule and plans as needed to accommodate unexpected events or changes in workload

    • Things can change on a whim and some things you just can’t control, but no matter what you’ll work around it and find a solution!

🔟 Reflect and Reevaluate:

  • Regularly assess your performance, health, and productivity, and make necessary adjustments to your time management and priorities

  • Celebrate your achievements and learn from any setbacks

Balancing a job and college can be demanding, but with careful planning, organization, and self-care, you can successfully manage both aspects of your life while maintaining productivity and well-being. We want you to reach your fullest potential and succeed in whatever makes you happy! Leave us any other questions or tips you want answered on our Instagram @homefromcollege!