As busy college students, it’s often challenging to manage our heavy course loads. Add an internship on top of that, and it can seem pretty daunting. Having completed three internships over the course of my college career so far, I have figured out how to balance the busy schedule I have as a student with the responsibilities from my internship.
Here are my top three tips for balancing an internship during the semester:
Get a planner (and keep up with it)
This is my biggest piece of advice for anyone starting an internship during the school year. A planner is essential for me in order to keep track of due dates for both school and my internship. There are many different types and layouts of planners, so find one that works for you. My personal favorite is a weekly planner with an hourly to-do list. I block out what parts of my day will be spent on school, work for my internship, and any other important tasks I have that day.
Not only is having a planner important, but you need to consistently use it and keep up with it in order to be successful. I like to take some time each Sunday to write everything down for the week in my planner. It helps me know what to expect for the week and helps me avoid missing assignments.
Know your priorities for the day
Sometimes, it is just impossible to get everything that you want done in one day. Unexpected things come up, assignments take longer than you anticipated, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. One thing that has helped me is to have a list of your top five priorities for the day that absolutely have to get done. For example, my list might look like this:
- PRowl edits
- Internship assignment
- Grocery shopping
- Practice self-care
I may have other things on my to-do list such as starting tomorrow’s homework or hanging out with a friend, but I know that if I don’t get my top priorities done, those things can be moved to another time. This helps ensure that I’m not overbooking myself for the day. It’s important to be flexible and adapt to change as the day goes on.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
My last piece of advice is to ask for help when you need it. Sometimes it takes longer to complete a task when you don’t ask for the help you need. Clearing up confusion can really clear up your schedule. So ask your professor for help with the homework you’re struggling with, ask your internship supervisor for an extension on the assignment that’s taking you longer than expected, or ask your roommate for some grace this week—you’d be surprised how accommodating others can be when you open up to them. It’s not embarrassing or a sign of weakness to ask for help!
These three tips have drastically improved my life while interning and being in school. Don’t let a busy schedule hold you back from going for your dream internship—stay organized, be flexible, and ask for help and you’ll be just fine.
—Marissa Marsh, Account Executive