Balancing Internships and Schoolwork: A Survival Guide

Showing up to every class during the week, studying for multiple tests, keeping track of assignments and staying on top of internship work can be a nightmare. If, that is, you don’t have the right attitude and strategy. For those of you who have ever struggled through balancing work and school, here is some advice for surviving the grind:

Rule #1: Communicate

Bosses, supervisors and co-workers are your best friends when you work away from work. One of the main skills that most companies emphasize is communication; use this to your advantage! If there’s a problem with the workload, an emergency family matter or your computer magically crashes (yes, this has happened to me) your team will be more than willing to work with you and your needs.  “I’m a great communicator,” may be cliché on resumes, but this is a skill that must be used every day in order to be successful.

Rule #2: Learn to Prioritize

When there’s a million things to be done and only 24 hours in a day, you would be slightly insane not to choose a prioritization strategy. For me, I have a handy-dandy planner for school where I write down everything from each syllabus and a separate planner for internship work-related duties. This way I can keep everything straight and not have to worry about missing assignments. The ultimate key to this is checking your planner(s)  every. single. day.

Rule #3: Do NOT Panic

There will be days, even weeks, where internship work and school are challenging. This is okay! Just remember to take each day one step at a time. Learning on the fly will always be part of your career, so gaining the experience of learning to manage school and work obligations is extremely beneficial. Panicking is human, but don’t let this get in the way of your awesome work! Typically, internships take up to a max of 15 hours per week. With efficient time management skills, allowing a couple hours per day for internship work would be enough to satisfy both time commitments.

Rule #4: It’s All About Perspective

Surviving school and internships is all about your take on it. Even if it’s challenging right now, the hard work will pay off one day. If the going gets tough, think about all of the reasons you chose to attend school and take on work at the same time. The internship experience while attending school could be used on resumes, in interviews and demonstrate how time management was essential to be successful in both school and work. In addition, universities usually offer so many resources for school work that could translate toward internship work. For example, writing centers  typically offer to help write classwork papers,but this could also be used to improve writing skills that translate into internship projects.

Rule #5: Take Five 

With all the craziness going on, it’s important to take a step back and unwind. Working hard throughout school will determine your future career path, so putting the time and effort in is extremely important. With that being said, balancing school, internships and a social life is a skill that you also must learn to manage. Relaxing every once in a while will improve overall work habits, performance and health.

Attending school and working is challenging, but with these survival tips both can be much easier. Remember, the key to success is believing that you can do the work!  Do you have any tips on balancing work? Feel free to share below:

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