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How to Balance an Internship and School

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Emily Kong
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Published on August 26, 2015

The balancing act is one of the most difficult things to master.

The balance between work and life is one of the biggest struggles many young professionals deal with on a daily basis. As students, we must balance school, a social life and work. As student interns, we must balance all of that plus an internship. Internships are a lot of work to begin with, but when thrown in with all of your other responsibilities, you will begin to feel overwhelmed. There’s no perfect way to balance everything in your life, but there are a few things you can do to make everything run smoothly.

First off, get organized. Nothing will ever get done in a timely fashion or done well if you aren’t organized. Organization doesn’t mean you need to color-code, file or plan your every step, but it means to gather everything you need to be successful. Find your perfect method of organization and master it. I make a to-do list for each project/organization that I have work for and cross things off as I complete them. I also color code a monthly calendar, so I can see everything in a monthly view. Sometimes if I really want to get crazy, I color code my Google calendar that holds every event and reminder that I could possibly need.

Budget your time. Know how much time you need to work on your different projects. If you know you like to outline, draft and then edit your papers, make sure you give yourself enough time during the week to do so.

Also, ensure that you give yourself enough time for a social life. I used to rarely give myself any social time, but realized that it took a toll on my overall well-being. Give yourself time for a social life, your academics, your internship work and any other work you may have. You won’t be rushing towards the end to get everything done.

Set goals for yourself at the beginning of every week. Whether you have to create a social media campaign for your internship or have a research paper due for your history class, prioritizing tasks at the beginning of the week adds to your organization, but also ensures that you do your best work. Goals allow you to grow and plan for everything you want to accomplish.

With that being said, know how to prioritize. In the end, school really does come first, and your internship supervisor will understand that. If you have a huge research paper one week, let them know. If finals preparation will take some time, they will let you take some time off. Be sure to keep them up to date with how you are balancing your school work. They care about you, and they know that school is important too.

Also, know that you are at your internship to work. They offered you the position because they need you. You are a vital part to their team, so make sure you’re contributing.

Remember to have fun. All of the work you’re doing is for a reason. Internships are meant to be fun. You’re there to work and learn, but also to make connections and have a good time. No matter what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be forcing yourself to have an unpleasant time. Enjoy your lunch break by spending it with your co-workers, have a study group with your friends and go out once in a while.

While you probably feel like you have a million things to do and no time to complete them all, you will find the time. Find a balance in your life, and you will find a way to get everything done and have fun while you’re doing it. You’re doing something important in every aspect of your life, so make sure you’re giving everything your all. Work hard because it will be worth it in the end, no matter how cliche that may sound.

Emily Kong

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