5 Steps You Can Take if Your Internship Isn’t What You Expected

Internships have become a necessary part of the college experience. In fact, according to NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 65% of college graduates in 2015 had an internship while in school.This percentage will definitely keep rising, especially given that employers are looking for more and more experience from entry-level employees.

But while internships are great, there are definitely problems that can arise. One common one? Not all internships are what they seem to be. Here are five steps you can take if your internship isn’t what you expected.

1. Assess the Situation

As soon as you realize that your internship is not going in the right direction, take a step back and think about what is happening. Why did you expect it to be different? Were you promised a lot more than you are being given? Are you not getting the hourly pay or stipend that was listed on the job posting? Did you think you were going to get hands-on public relations experience, but you actually spend most of your time cleaning and taking out the garbage?

Make a list of what you feel is wrong. Writing it on paper will help you come to your senses, so jot down an old-fashioned list. You might realize that some of those “problems” aren’t as bad as you originally thought, or maybe there really is something suspicious going on here.

2. Ask Around to Other Interns

If there are other interns in your office or building, you should definitely reach out to them or observe what they’re up to. If they seem to be having the same experience as you, maybe you can go through the rest of these steps together.

However, if they are having a positive experience, you should find out what they are doing differently. Maybe they are taking more initiative or being more social. If you change those little things while you’re on the job, there is a good chance that your experience might change for the better. Your fellow interns can help make your internship better, and now you might have a new friend too!

3. Make the Most Out of Your Time

Everyone hates hearing this, but maybe it’s you that needs to change, not the internship. If you act like you’re not happy to be there, then you will probably never be truly happy. Try your best to be motivated, and act like you want this job. Staying on top of your assignments is so important, but interns are often left with extra time. Ask for extra work (most supervisors would love to have more help!), and request time to take employees to coffee to learn more about them, their roles, and their career paths.

4. Talk to Your Supervisor

If you feel that you are not learning the skills that you had hoped, your supervisor might be able help. While you might not want to flat-out say that you aren’t happy with your internship, talk to him or her about what you were expecting to learn. Your boss might be able to find responsibilities that are in line with what you’re looking for.

If you have any other questions or concerns, make sure to bring them up! If your boss isn’t open to allowing you to do other work, at least you will realize what kind of internship you want (and don’t want).

5. Network With Employees

Networking is a huge part of getting new jobs and opportunities. At every internship you get, make sure to stop in and say hello to all of the employees. Since they have actual positions at the company, find out how they got there. They might even have suggestions for you. Even if your experience at the internship is not the greatest, at least you will leave knowing that you made as many connections as possible.

While it is definitely unfortunate if your internship is not what you expected, following these five steps will help you make the most of it.

Want to find out more about National Intern Day and how you can win a cash prize? Head over to nationalinternday.com to get the scoop. 

7 Things the Most Successful Interns Bring to Work Every Day

When it comes to internships, many of us often forget that there’s more to being an intern than just being someone’s assistant, and you really have to come prepared if you want to go above and beyond what’s asked of you. What do you need to prove you’re ready to get down to business? Here are seven things that the most successful interns bring to work every day.

1. The Right Planner

Having a planner that meets your specific needs is important if you want to stay organized and on time. Look for one that has both monthly and weekly spreads. You can put general reminders and events on the monthly pages, while writing down other assignments on the weekly pages.

Some websites even offer customizable planners, like Agendio and Erin Condren, where you can choose your own designs and layouts. Would you prefer a reasonably small-sized planner so it’s easy to take everywhere? Or would you rather have a larger planner, so you have plenty of room to write your daily schedule? There are so many options out there, but just make sure you pick one that works for you.

2. Extra Pens

You are probably going to lose your pens, even when you try so hard not to. We drop them while walking, we let the person sitting next to us borrow one, and we accidentally take them all home. Just be prepared by always having a ton of extra pens. You don’t want to be caught off-guard in an important lecture or meeting without a pen to take notes!

3. Lotion

If you ever find yourself unable to sleep or stressed out to the point where nothing can relax you, then you should try using some hand lotion. Bath & Body Works sells travel-size aromatherapy lotions that will make you feel better instantly, and who doesn’t feel better with softer hands?

4. Post-Its

Post-Its are one of the best ways to make reminders for yourself, and they definitely beat writing on the back of your hand like in middle school. You can literally stick them anywhere, like your computer, desk, or notebooks. The bright colors are easy to spot, so you’ll never miss a note. Post-Its come in all different colors and sizes, both lined and blank. The larger lined notes are perfect for to-do lists. Try assigning different colors for all of your commitments so you avoid getting confused.

5. Vitamin Boosts

Chances are that if you’re running around between school, work, extracurriculars, and friends, you’re going to be exhausted by the middle of the day. Even though most of us often turn to coffee when we need more energy, vitamin boosts are a better alternative.

Olly Nutrition has plenty of options, like Endless Energy vitamins for endurance and focus, which contain caffeine from green tea, B vitamins, and amino acids to give you an energy boost. If you’re one of those people who is constantly sick in the winter, they have Ultimate Immunity vitamins as well. These vitamin boosts will keep you going throughout your busy schedule.

6. Mints and Gum

Besides saving you from bad breath, having mints or gum in your bag might even be able to help you network by offering a piece to the other people around you. It will give you an extra opportunity to introduce yourself to your coworkers and supervisors that you might have not had before.

7. Positive Attitude

Probably the most important thing that every intern should bring to work is a positive attitude. At this stage in the game, we’re still trying to find our place in the real working industry. We need to love what we’re doing in order to get the most out of our experiences as interns. If your employer sees that you’re going above and beyond, so many other opportunities open up (like even a position after you graduate!). You’ll never know until you put in the extra effort.

From planners to vitamins, these things will help you make it through your long days of class and work. Now that you know the seven things that the most successful interns bring to work every day, all you need to do is make sure that you find a bag, purse, or backpack that you love to carry them all in!

Want to find out more about National Intern Day and how you can win a cash prize? Head over to nationalinternday.com to get the scoop.

3 Tips for Managing Your Time and Stress in College, From a Student Who Juggles Everything

As a student that struggles to balance school, work and clubs, it’s pretty hard to figure out the best way to handle everything. I always want to be involved in more organizations, but I never know how I would manage it. I realized that the best person to get advice from would be someone who is basically the college student equivalent of Superwoman, Jazmin Habbab.

Jazmin is currently a junior at Montclair State University, majoring in Public Health and minoring in Biology and Arabic. She does it all: She’s a full-time student who takes 19 credits every semester, a part-time worker, a volunteer, a leader of two organizations and a member of six organizations. After transferring to Montclair State for her sophomore year, Jazmin was determined to make the most out of all the opportunities that the school provides.

Jazmin agreed to share her secrets about how she manages her time and stress while being so involved. Here’s what you should know.

1. Get Your Time Management Down

When you have a lot of commitments, meetings and shifts might end up overlapping. This can be a tricky situation, especially when every organization expects to be your first priority. Jazmin recommends getting two wall calendars to put in your room. She uses one for scheduling club meetings, events, work and volunteer hours. The other is solely for homework and projects.

If you start noticing time conflicts while writing on your calendar, you have to figure out which obligations are more important. You have to pick and choose what you think is most important, but go with your instinct. The 10-page paper you have due next week is probably more important than going out to dinner with your co-workers. Prioritizing is difficult in general, but it gets even more difficult when your schedule is packed.

Another effective way to keep track of assignments is by making to-do lists. You can make general weekly lists and more specific daily lists. Whether you prefer to use Post-Its or just make lists in your notebook or agenda, nothing feels better than being able to cross an item off.

2. Work on Stress Management

Stress is inevitable sometimes, especially during your college years. You might try your hardest to avoid it, but it’s best to be prepared for when it pops up. Jazmin tries to control her stress by planning out her entire week. Knowing what your attitude should be like for the rest of the week is crucial to managing stress. She also calms herself down by listening to music, taking a short break and going for a run.

You’re going to have two very different attitudes going into the week of Thanksgiving compared to finals week. If you’ve got an easy and exciting week ahead of you, there’s a good chance that you’ll be bubbly, spontaneous, and overall happy. If it’s about to be your most stressful week of the semester, you should be ready to work and be productive at the start of the week.

If you don’t properly manage your stress, it could seriously affect your health. Last year, Jazmin had a really hard time handling her stress. She had really bad anxiety at the time, which caused her to overeat and have breakdowns over the littlest things.

You can prevent this by planning out each day in advance, so that you have an idea of what to expect. No one likes being caught off-guard, so use your planner, calendar, Post-Its, phone reminders or whatever else it takes for you to know what you’ll be facing for the week.

3. Build a Support System

We all could use a little advice sometimes, even if we think we’re doing fine. Although Jazmin does a pretty good job at figuring things out on her own, there is one thing that she wishes she had known from the beginning.

Jazmin did not always surround herself with a really good support system at first. You should surround yourself with people who inspire you and push you to become a better person. You can handle anything and everything that you put your mind, heart and soul into, but it will be a lot harder without an amazing group of friends.

Your friends have to believe in you enough to always be there for you when you’re going through a hard time. Like Jazmin says, your friends should support you and never discourage you from following your dreams.

Hopefully we can all learn from Jazmin’s experiences. It can be really hard to manage your time and stress during college, but you just have to plan ahead and surround yourself with positive people!

The Biggest Career Mistake I’ve Made in College

Now that I’m about halfway done with my junior year of college, there are a few things that I wish I had done differently. I went into college pretty unsure about what I wanted to do with my life, like plenty of other students. There are a few small things I did in college so far that I would definitely go back and change. I wish that I declared a major as soon as I knew what I wanted to study, rather than waiting. I also regret not taking summer classes while I had the opportunity. Both of those are just minor regrets, especially when I look at the big picture.

However, the biggest mistake that I’ve made in college was not asking for help. I’ve always prided myself on my independence, especially when it comes to my future, so I was convinced that I did not need anyone else’s help.

As college students, we have a lot of additional resources available to us while we are in school. Now is the time that people are actually willing to help us out. All you have to do is ask, but there are so many of us that simply do not. I know that I’m not the only one who refused to ask for help in the beginning, but I hope that others do not make the same mistakes that I did. The people that I wish I had asked for help from much sooner are my professors, academic advisors, alumni and my peers.

Professors

This semester has been the first that I have participated constantly in all of my classes. I was previously the girl who sat in the back and kept to herself. In September, I walked into class and sat in the front. By simply sitting in the front and participating in classroom discussions, your professors will notice you.

Believe it or not, they actually want you to do well in class! They have office hours to help you with your assignments, but they might even be able to help guide your career too. Professors often have many years of experience in their industry, so they know all of the tips and tricks that will get you on the right path.

Ask them about how they got started right after they graduated college. Do they have any advice for you that they wish someone had told them in college? Were they involved in an organization that helped them land their first job? One educated conversation with a professor will help you in more ways than you originally thought.

Academic Advisors

During my freshman year of college, I didn’t quite have the greatest advisor. Maybe he was just new or something, but he knew nothing about the programs that the school offered. I left feeling like I wasted my time, so obviously I did not meet with my advisor ever again. Even though I have since been assigned a new advisor within my major, I just recently met him for the first time.

All of the questions you have about classes, graduating and the real world can be answered by your advisor, so they’re definitely worth a visit. Definitely find out if your advisor has any recommendations on classes to take next semester. You can also ask them to make sure you’re on track to complete all of your credits on time (or early!). Need help with something on campus? Your advisor is aware of all campus resources, so they can connect you to the right people to get you exactly the assistance you need. They can also help plan out the rest of your time in college. All you have to do is ask for help!

Alumni and Peers

Most college campuses also have a program to connect current students with alumni of the school. Meeting with an alumni of the school who recently graduated is the perfect way to figure out possible career paths. They will tell you exactly what the real world is like, where you’ll have a lot more responsibilities, along with 40-plus hours of work a week. Ask them about what they concentrated on while in college, when they started applying for jobs and if they have any general advice for you.

Asking for help from your peers is another way that will benefit you. Chances are, you’re all going through the same struggles, so why not get through it together? Try brainstorming with your peers next time you have a huge project coming up. You can even join organizations with each other if you have the same interests. If a classmate made a presentation that you absolutely loved, tell them and ask them how they researched for it! Your peers should be the easiest people to ask for help, as they are in the same position as you.

Although not asking for help is the biggest career mistake I made in college, I am not going to let it ruin my career. Passion and hard work go a long way, so I genuinely hope that other college students do not make the same career mistake that I did. Your professors, academic advisors, alumni and peers are all there for a reason. Asking for help will not make you weak, it will help you improve yourself and further your education and career.

5 Easy Ways Anyone Can Save Money Now

Most college students and recent grads are struggling with money. We are constantly being told to save money for the future, but we barely have enough money to live right now. Life is really expensive, especially when you have student loans, but whether you are saving up for a vacation next summer or you’re simply trying to afford to pay all of your bills, these tips will help you start saving money right now without having to sacrifice everything you love in your life

1. Work More to Earn More

One of the most important steps to saving money is making sure you have money to save.  See if you can pick up a few extra hours at work. If a coworker needs someone to cover their shift, offer to work for them. Any extra hours will help; you can save the money you earned by working more. Don’t over-work yourself though; make sure you still get enough sleep!

If you want to work more, but your job can’t give you any extra hours, you might want to pick up another job! If you love kids, see if any relatives or neighbors need a babysitter. If babysitting isn’t your thing, most part-time jobs only require 2-3 days a week, often on the weekends! Hint: Almost every retail store hires seasonal employees for the holidays and the summer, but make sure you apply early. (They might even keep you on as a regular part-time employee if you work hard enough!)

By saving all of the money you make at your second job, you’ll already have a good chunk of money in your savings account!

(And if you’re looking for ways to make a quick buck, we’ve got thousands of great paid positions here and all on WayUp!)

2. Test Products and Online Surveys

Testing products and completing online surveys might be some of the easiest, least time-consuming ways that I’ve ever made money. There are research and testing companies all over the country; just make sure to look into every opportunity. Certain places only do focus groups, wanting to hear your opinion on a specific topic. Others specialize in product testing or taste testing, which is super easy! I’ve gotten paid to test a new foundation and mascara for a couple of months and give my feedback. I’ve also gotten paid to compare mints for two hours; it was so simple and quick! (I left for the day with extremely fresh breath and a nice check!) Some testing companies are Focus Pointe Global, Consumer Product Testing Company in Fairfield, NJ and Partners in Research in Totowa, NJ.

Online surveys can also help you make some money! Many websites that do online surveys tend to pay in the form of gift cards rather than cash. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or shopping online with the money that you should be saving, take a survey to earn rewards. There are plenty of websites to take surveys on, such as Global Test Market, e-Rewards, as well as Focus Pointe Global. It might take some time to actually earn a reward, but it is definitely worth it!

3. Direct Deposit to Savings

The hands-down most effective way to save money is by automatically putting part of your paycheck into your savings account. If your job offers direct deposit, they most likely have a feature that allows you to split where your paycheck goes. You might choose to put a percentage of your paycheck into your savings account, or you might pick a set dollar amount. Whether you put away 15% or $50 of each paycheck, you will be saving money without even realizing it.

Look at it this way: If you save $50 from each paycheck and you get paid twice a month, that’s an extra $100 dollars a month that you automatically save! You’ll end up reaching your goal a lot faster by simply putting the money away.

4. Brew Your Own Coffee and Don’t Eat Out

If you always have a crazy schedule like most college students, then there is a pretty good chance that you constantly need coffee or some other caffeinated beverage. Unless you’re already saving money by brewing your own coffee at home, you’re probably spending at least $3-6 on every drink you get. Instead of going out and buying your coffee make your own at home instead. Starbucks sells instant hot and iced coffee mixes, which unlike other brands, actually taste amazing! Add in your favorite creamer and you have Starbucks coffee for a fraction of the price! You’re basically a barista now.

Even if you’re not a coffee person, you can still save even more money if you avoid eating out. By saving restaurants for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays, the occasion will feel so much more special. Making your own food at home is so much cheaper than eating out. Plus, who doesn’t love a good home-cooked meal for a change?

5. Download Money-Tracking Apps

In case you’ve never explored the App Store before, there are millions of apps for anything you could ever want to do on a smartphone. By downloading an app to help you track your money, you’ll be way less likely to overspend. 

Everyone has different preferences for functionality and design, so find the one that best suits you. Fudget is the simplest money-tracking app because of its clean list interface. Mvelopes is a digital envelope budgeting app, a spin-off of the classic cash-in-envelope budgeting system. Mint is definitely the winner among most college students, so definitely check it out! You can monitor your spending habits to see where you need work, as well as create personalized budget plans.

Saving money doesn’t have to be impossible. These 5 tips will help you reach your money-saving goals, but don’t worry, you won’t have to drop everything fun in your life.