An internship is a stepping stone to an entry-level career that may set you ahead of your fellow job-seekers. Before you land your first internship, it’s important to prepare yourself for the challenges and demands in addition to the rewards that come with the position. After all, you have academic and extracurricular commitments to honor in addition to your internship responsibilities.
To ensure a successful internship and school semester you should:
Plan ahead. Once you determine your internship work hours, set aside time each day to study and fulfill other commitments. Keep an organized daily planner (on paper or via your smartphone or tablet) to keep yourself on track. It may also be helpful to schedule reminders for yourself on your computer and phone.
Be well rested. Everyone knows that getting sleep is a challenge in college and may not be a top priority, but it is always important to rest while maintaining a busy schedule. Aim for at 6-8 hours each night or your performance may suffer.
Set goals. Even though the internship and school schedule may get hectic, it is still important to continue to set, and work towards, your goals. Once you have a routine and are organized, keep your focus on your short and long-term goals to stay motivated.
Build and maintain relationships. Maintain your personal relationships and build professional relationships as an intern. Both will prove to be important throughout life! It may be more difficult to find time for friends and family, but it is an important part of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The relationships you build from your internship may play an important role in the future of your career.
Eat healthy. The food and beverages you put into your body will either help energize you or decrease your productivity. College life and healthy eating can be synonymous with a little savvy shopping and planning (think granola bars, fruit and yogurt). Eat healthy snacks frequently to fuel your busy schedule.
Be prepared. Before you begin the semester, have a clear vision of what will be expected of you from both school and your internship. Be prepared for the amount of time you will be dedicating in your new role as an intern.
Know your boundaries. Be aware of how much you can handle. You may need to adjust your lifestyle and make some sacrifices. Don’t take on too many extra responsibilities outside of the internship and school if you do not think it will be manageable.
Keep your grades up. Some internships require you to keep a certain grade point average. Make sure you still have plenty of time to study and complete your projects.
When starting a new career or internship, it may take a little time to adjust to the new schedule. With dedication and discipline, you can finish off the semester with great grades and a successful internship that will provide a foundation for your impending career.