School, work, interning…who needs sleep?

The countdown is on. With only 6 weeks left in the semester many students are counting down the seconds until graduation, lucky for me (in my opinion at least) I’ve decided to stick around Walter’s for an extra semester to fulfill the requirements for a business minor. In the meantime I’m counting down the days until summer which means finding a summer internship and job NOW. Browsing through twitter today I saw a tweet from “InternQueen” a.k.a, Lauren Berger, about managing an internship and a job. It linked to her blog, I Am Intern , which offers a plethora of information and tips for getting that super competitive internship, time lines for applying and companies hiring, perfect for students like myself.

This particular post caught my attention because I am currently managing an internship and a job and honestly, it’s not that bad. If anything it has helped me manage my time like a pro. College is a time to take advantage of being able to have a ridiculous schedule that relies on little sleep, gaining experience, making/drinking coffee A LOT, and sucking it up so we’re prepared for what lies ahead. At a recent PRSSA meeting, the past president came to talk with us about her experience entering the work force and it was intimidating. She admit how she thought she’d have no problem getting a job with 4 internships under her belt, past PRSSA president and other credible activities listed on her resume. However, that was not the case. It took her 6 months to find a job post graduation. Internships are crucial these days and because many of them are unpaid, not having a job isn’t an option. Berger offered some tips on her blog to balancing both. Here are a few that I thought were most beneficial:

– KNOW YOUR NEEDS. Make a list of what you NEED to do over the summer. If you need to make a certain amount of money, write that down. Also, tally up the amount of hours each day you must work in order to make that kind of money.

– WORK AT NIGHT. If you don’t have a summer job yet I suggest looking for a “night” job like waiting tables. If you can find a job that doesn’t require you to be there until 5 or 6pm that is ideal.

– MANAGE YOUR EMPLOYER’S EXPECTATIONS. With both your employer and you internship coordinator be very specific with them about your time commitments. Don’t say that you might be able to stay past 4pm some days at your internship if you must be at work at 5pm. Don’t over commit yourself. Decide which hours you 100 percent can commit and tell those hours to your boss.

– BE PUNCTUAL AND ALERT. Since you will be splitting your time, it’s important to be extremely punctual. You want to show both employer’s that you can juggle two things at once and it won’t cause you to be late, procrastinate, etc. If you are tired, hide it! Make sure that you are bright eyed at your internship and at your job. Both places won’t want someone that seems to be “dragging”.

– SHOW THAT YOU CAN HANDLE IT. If you excel at both places that means double the letters of recommendation, double the experience, double the number of items to add to your resume. Your parents, employers, co-workers, fellow interns will all be impressed.

Even though I haven’t settled on what type of PR I want to pursue yet, (I think entertainment) I know that I’m in the right field because of the fact that I give 16 hours a week to the firm I intern with, without pay, yet I enjoy going every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It’s not as much work as it is enjoyment or fun. I think this is something important for students and interns to take into consideration because if you’re already cursing a job you aren’t paid for, how much are you going to enjoy it when you’re bringing in the dough? Working and interning can be used in the same sentence, don’t be afraid to give up some time because once the countdown to graduation begins, it goes fast and in the end the experience will be worth every last second.  

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3 Responses to School, work, interning…who needs sleep?

  1. sekane says:

    This is such a relavant post. I believe as college students in this day and age we spend so much time preparing ourselves for the work force that we jeapordize important things such as our health. Is it logical to trade our sleep for better time management? Last Spring I had an internship, a job, went to school and held a presidential position in my sorority. Eventually, I was burnt out, never had time for anything a newly 21 year-old should be doing, and I started to resent the fact that I was preparing myself for a future I was uncertain of. I think your tips are good, especially the part about managing your employeres expectations. I think too many of us strive to be the best employee, and all our own desires go out the window. We work harder for minimum wage than most do for a real salary. This is a problem.

  2. kmmorten says:

    Last year I was in your shoes. I worked full-time, went to school full-time and had an internship on top of that. I felt like I had no life and didn’t have time to enjoy my college experience to the fullest. I woke up at 6 in the morning and didn’t get home until 10 at night. Although I gained some valuable experience, I was so burnt out by the end of the semester. So, this year, I cut back on hours at work, didn’t pursue an internship and took my remaining classes I needed in order to graduate in May. With that being said, I really like the tips in this blog, especially “know your needs.” College is the time to take advantage of internships and trying new things so you know what kind of career you want to pursue after graduation. However, I think you need to find a balance between school, work, internships and a social life. College doesn’t last forever, so live it up while you can, experience as much as you can and do whatever makes you happy.

  3. lmdavis2 says:

    I can completely relate to this post. I work a 20+hour a week internship as well as going to school. Last semester I even threw in a job, but I decided that was too much and cut back to just an internship and school. Lucky for me though, I do get paid for my internship, not a lot, but enough to have some fun money for college. However, I am graduating in May and with the times the way they are, I share the same fear as you in finding a job. I have had three internships in college and maintained a high GPA, but is that enough? When no one is hiring, a solid resume doesn’t mean too much. I just hope I can ride out the times and my hard work will pay off when the economy starts to turn around.

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