So you got an internship but, you’re also balancing uni on the side. First off, kudos to your brave soul and good luck on the tough but definitely rewarding journey you have ahead of you. There’s a couple of things you should know and I’ve got some words of wisdom I’d like to get off my chest, now that I’ve been working this gig for a while. Just a couple of friendly tips to keep you in check while you’re working and also handling Uni deadlines. It's a hard knock life for us, isn't it? Most of these tips may sound cliché but you need to hear it.
It’s an understatement to say it can be overwhelming so, I’m not going to say that. Instead, here’s what I’ve learnt while undergoing my internship:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You’re there to learn so, if you don’t ask questions how are you going to achieve that? It might seem daunting at first to admit that you don’t know something and that you need help but in the long run, you’ll thank yourself.
2. The other interns won’t bite
Don’t close yourself off from the other interns, trust me. I did that and it got me nowhere. Once I realised they’re probably just as scared and nervous as I am and, made the effort to speak to them, it made my internship instantly more fun. I had friends; people to vent/rant/relate to and also have the occasional coffee break with (so very necessary).
3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of your internship, I know – been there done that. You might begin to get sucked into that work life where you start to feel super mature and adult and all your Uni responsibilities get side-tracked. When that starts to happen you need to call a flag on the play.
You know what’s actually really mature and adult? Prioritising Uni because that is the forefront of your responsibilities atm , so knowing when to take a step back at work is very crucial. I, myself, am guilty of neglecting Uni assignments because I was having too much fun at my internship. Don’t make my mistakes. You’re smarter than that.
4. Network, network, network
Sitting at your desk all day can make you get a little antsy and definitely NITM to go back home and work on your pending assignments. That’s why it’s so imp to seize the day and make the most of any work events that fall onto your lap. Be eager and be enthusiastic. Your employer will be impressed and it’ll do you some good to get out of the office and meet people in the industry you hope to work for Uni.You may meet potential employers too. Also, being glued to your desk all day isn't healthy at all.
5. Be prepared to embrace all the stereotypes associated with being an ‘intern’
No further explanation is needed. I’m not going to sugar-coat it and tell you that all the cliché things you hear about internships are false, because in all honesty, some of them may be true. Working is not all sunshine and rainbows and every work place will have its ups and downs. The important thing to remember is to always regain composure when you start to feel overwhelmed with work and, breathe.
6. Plan your days
It’s always a good idea to keep a track of yourself. I’ve been known to go rogue and to totally bail on Uni work once I get home after a long day at the office. I blame Netflix and its infinite viewing options that basically beg me to procrastinate, shamelessly. If you relate as well, don’t worry because I found a way to train this nasty habit. It involves a day planner. This way, you have a record of all that you were meant to accomplish and IDK about you but it’s harder for me to avoid doing something when it’s on a ‘To-Do’ list. There’s something quite satisfying about ticking things off that list and feeling pleased with myself.
7. Enjoy what you're doing!
A rookie mistake, my friends and that is forgetting to enjoy the internship and not living in the moment. This is an amazing opportunity you have in front of you and a monumental time in your life. It’ll all be wasted if you don’t take a min for yourself. One way of doing this is to take solace in the little accomplishments you achieve every day and still have a social life. It can sound like a lot to go to your internship, complete Uni work aand have time for a social life but, it is possible. I know because I’ve been there and I have full faith you’ll be able to do it too.