While many students intern during the summer months, others choose the ambitious path of interning during the school year. That is not surprising considering the recent news of the local labor market improving. The Worcester Economic Index (WEI), a snapshot of the state of the local economy, increased at a 7.9 percent annual rate during the second quarter of 2014, according to Assumption College Economics professor Dr. Thomas White.
Dr. White’s students, many of whom are pursuing degrees in business, are not the only ones benefiting from the economic growth in their internship search. More than 70 percent of Assumption students complete at least one internship and/or practicum while at Assumption College.
However, whether you’ve just landed a semester-long internship or plan to look for one, the juggling act of school and internship can be challenging. Here are some tips for navigating a successful internship experience:
Be Honest, Be Realistic
Before you commit to an internship, be honest with yourself about how much you can take on. Consider your class load, the difficulty of particular classes, time you may want to spend on student activities or with friends, commute time and anything else on your to-do list that requires a considerable commitment. Tally your numbers and figure out how much time you have left.
Consult the Internship Supervisor
Talk with your internship supervisor and establish clear expectations when it comes to your availability. Most organizations understand the many demands on a college students’ time and are often flexible – to a point. Provide the courtesy of advanced notice regarding the days you are unavailable due to travel plans or special school projects. This will help your employer customize assignments to meet your schedule constraints so that your internship experience is manageable and mutually rewarding.
Keep one day to yourself
Regardless of your work ethic, be sure to allow yourself a break, physically and mentally. Whether it’s a weekday or weekend, allow yourself at least one day without any school or work commitments. You may still end up scanning the pages of your textbook, but the pressure of having to be somewhere will not interfere.
Consider your class schedule
If it’s not too late, plan your class schedule ahead to allow sufficient periods of time during traditional business hours (usually 9 to 5) at least a few days per week. Think about your personal preferences when it comes to your daily schedule. Do you prefer alternating your days between school and work —or, are you comfortable with allocating part of your day to each activity? Figuring out what works best for you will increase your overall productivity and contribute to a rewarding internship.