This blog was written by Ariana Voyer, our Campus Ambassador at the University of Central Florida. She is a rising senior and a NYC summer intern at MRY. Follow Ariana on Twitter @arianavoyer.
Fact: College students are busy. If you’re anyone like me, having various internships, jobs, classes and involvement in Greek life and/or clubs on campus can get a little overwhelming! When I tell people that I am in a sorority, have three internships, a job and four classes, I typically come across a very confused face and get asked the same two questions: Why would you want to have so many responsibilities on your plate and how do you do it? Going into my senior year in college, I think balancing my time has been one of the most valuable skills I’ve learned. Having multiple internships in one semester isn’t just for the resume; it’s a way to utilize your spare time in the right way for your future. I look at it this way: you have four years in college to proactively figure out the job you’d be interested in for a career. Explore all your options and take advantage of as many internship opportunities as possible! Let me tell you from my experience, it IS possible to not only handle it all, but to succeed in each of them too. Here, I’ll share with you my top 5 tips to balancing internships along with everything else in your life:
1. Only acquire internships you are passionate about. It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you should do and what you actually want to do. Having internship duties that fall under your interests will be more enjoyable and fun. It won’t feel like a job, but rather a hobby. Plus, chances are if you love what you’re doing, you’ll do a better job at it and your supervisor will realize it too.
2. Plan your class schedule wisely to allot time to focus on your internships. While it’s not always possible to have ultimate flexibility in class scheduling, have your internships in mind when choosing the times of your classes. For example, I like to have a balance of online or mixed-mode classes and lecture classes. This way, I don’t feel like I’m constantly running around from place to place. Also, I try to coordinate my classes to the same times or days, allowing me to finish my school day at a reasonably early hour or even end up with one or two days off from school during the week. Find what works best for you.
3. Consider virtual internships and campus/brand ambassador positions. Typically, these both allow for you to make your own schedule. Many of them are social media based or event based. Social media can be planned ahead of time through sites like HootSuite (plus, you’re probably on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day regardless). Campus ambassador positions are convenient since you are already on campus for classes, so you’re not taking time out of your day to drive to an office. Also, many campus ambassador positions include marketing a product at on-campus events. Use your other involvement to incorporate your ambassador position. For example, if you are in a sorority or fraternity and have an annual Greek life event to attend, go an hour early to advertise the product you’re representing while students are entering the venue. After all, you are going to be at that event anyway.
4. Always plan ahead and stay organized. The key to multi-tasking and managing your time wisely truly comes down to organizing. Different strategies work better for different people. A weekly/monthly white board in your room, an agenda that never leaves your side, reminders through your e-mail/calendar, post-it notes and sticky notes on your desktop are just a few options to consider.
5. Prioritize. Last but not certainly not least, the trickiest of them all. Prioritizing has personally been one of my biggest challenges in college. I am now preparing to go into my senior year with all the responsibilities I had during my junior year, plus one additional internship. In evaluating my priorities, I think first and foremost, always make your personal well-being your number one priority. This includes your physical and mental health. Next, your family and best friends, or whoever is your core support group. Even when you are busy running around, it’s extremely important to maintain your relationships with the people that matter most to you. Then, I think you need to equally manage classes, jobs, your internships, and your on-campus involvement. Don’t let any of them push you over the edge, but at the same time, don’t just do the bare minimum. Divide the time in your day to focus on each. Getting on a routine will help with this.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed when more internship opportunities come your way, say “bring it on!”