You are holding down a part-time job, taking 15 credits and trying to see your friends. It might seem absolutely impossible to fit an internship into your schedule. Fortunately, it’s not. It’s entirely possible to fit every number of opportunities into your schedule if you want it badly enough. Plus, those opportunities are going to be so valuable you won’t even know why you were skeptical about making the time. It’s all about mindset.
College is a huge responsibility. These four years may be the first time you encounter uncertainty about what’s next. It’s okay to be uncertain, to take risks and to push yourself. College is the time when you should be taking chances and furiously pursuing the things you want. In the future, you will hate that you wasted time on that uncertainty instead of letting it fuel you. Internships can be uncomfortable at first and you may not have the schedule of your dreams but you can do this.
The first step in fitting an internship in your schedule is to ask yourself, “why do I want an internship?” Do you want it just because everyone else has one? Did you find one that seems like exactly what you want to do when you graduate? Are you ready to take your learning to the next level? Don’t do it because it seems like you should. Do it because it will make you a better, more experienced professional. Do it because you think you have value to give and you know others have value you want to receive. It doesn’t have to be your dream internship; it only has to be something you know you will give your all for the right reasons. Don’t waste your time or others, have the desire to make it work.
The second step is to plan in advance. If you are trying to do an internship in the school year, see how you can work your courses so you have some weekday availability. You may find success loading two days a week with classes or only choosing morning or night classes. If your university offers online courses, consider picking up one or two of them so that you have more time during the day. Companies that are accepting interns during the school year will understand there may be some juggling with your schedule but they can only make it work if you communicate your needs. If you’re doing a summer internship, figure out where you will be and if there are any major conflicts during your break so you can communicate those conflicts when you are applying for positions. Help your potential employer work with you.
The third step is to be considerate of yourself and your other commitments. You may be a student leader or have other obligations. That’s okay. Be communicative with your student group and your internship supervisor. Life is not linear and it’s up to you to make these things work by being ready to tackle conflicts upfront. There may be some late nights or early mornings. This is inevitable but it is anything but bad. Don’t be negative about your time commitments, be glad that you are putting yourself into the world to give and get knowledge within your field.
The final step is to get a planner or get really cozy with Google Calendars. There are so many tools for staying on top of what you need to do. Take this opportunity to have your hands in all sorts of pots and to practice your time management.
This isn’t to say you should completely stretch yourself thin, just be realistic about the amount of downtime you have and how you can adjust your commitments to work for you. You might sacrifice some social media time or move plans back with friends a couple hours but you will survive. Just ask yourself, in the long run, would you rather be applying yourself or flipping through titles on Netflix?
Morgan McCoy is a senior Public Relations and Advertising major at Point Park University. On campus, she is the vice president of the PRSSA chapter, active in the Advertising Federation chapter and director of the university’s student-run firm, Bison Media. She is also a PRSSA 2018-2019 Regional Ambassador. Morgan has worked for Pittsburgh-local brands I Made It! Market and The Neighborhood Flea for over four years, was an event planning intern with Grant Street Group over the summer and will be interning with WordWrite Communications in fall 2018. On the side, Morgan enjoys running a small-scale vintage resale business with her partner and volunteering with the Bill Nunn Theater Outreach Project.