Juggling Act: How To Balance An Internship With School

Completing an internship as an undergraduate student is an invaluable experience that can boost your resume, refine your communication skills, and expose you to the front lines of your area of study. In short: it’s a pretty awesome way to earn credits - or even a paycheck. However, the time commitment required by most internships can be daunting, especially when taking a full course load. How does one take on a position interning without letting his or her grades slip? What about maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and an active social life?

How To Balance An Internship With School

Believe it or not, it can be done. There is definitely no short-cut or hack to having it all in college, but developing a time management strategy and sticking to it will allow you to accomplish what you want to do without sacrificing your success in school or your sanity.

Plan Ahead

Consider when you are willing to take on an internship so that you are able to schedule accordingly. For example, it’s a good idea to apply to positions during the summer for a fall semester in which your course load will be lighter than usual. If you pair challenging classes in your weakest subject with a completely new, unfamiliar working situation, it will most likely make for a stressful term.

Commit To One Semester At A Time

How do you know if an internship opportunity is the right fit? It’s better to test the waters by committing to a semester versus a full-year. By the end of your first period of extraordinary multitasking, if you feel compelled to continue, you can voice that to your supervisor and they may offer you another semester, summer, or winter of work. On the other hand, you won’t have to feel guilty backing out if you would rather spend the next term focusing exclusively on school.

Designate Chunks Of Time For Specific Activities

Perhaps the most important aspect of time management is actually controlling how much time is allocated to each responsibility. Commit entire blocks of time in your day or week to your internship along with class, studying, and other commitments you may have. Be liberal with the amount of time you’re allocating. It's better to overestimate than find yourself rushing or crammed for time. In order to achieve this most effectively, many college students plan their academic schedules so that all classes fall on certain days, leaving two or three completely open per week to intern. The two settings will be easier to balance if they are kept separate. Cramming for an American History test at your desk in a professional office (or, conversely, responding to work emails in the middle of an Organic Chemistry lab) is an inefficient, unorganized, and distracting way to juggle your priorities. You’ll end up being incapable of giving 100% to anything you’re involved in.

Find New Ways To Increase Efficiency And Productivity

An increasing number of career-oriented students are taking online courses to better accommodate work hours. Online classes give students the flexibility to log on to a course from virtually anywhere. Rather than shuttle back and forth between campus and an internship, online students can save travel time and put that towards working or studying instead. While interning and attending school simultaneously is a huge undertaking, all it takes is a little shuffling and patience to discover what works best for you. The skills you’ll culminate during this process will serve you exponentially in the long run and build a foundation for long-term career success.
This article was written by Marketing Intern Taylor Meadows on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2U – an education-technology company that partners with top-tier schools to deliver online programs like Semester Online, for-credit online college courses.
Enjoy this article? You've got time for another! Check out these related articles: Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!