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Finding Time to Study During Your Internship

Fri, May 4, 2012

Internship Information

The importance of interning during college has been well documented. An internship gives you the opportunity to try your hand at a potential future career, take what you are learning in the classroom and apply it in a real world setting and make valuable contacts that will help you for years to come. All of that is well and good, but what happens if your internship takes place over the spring or fall semester, and not during summer break? Summer internships are fantastic, because you don’t have to juggle a full course load, and paid internships can even help you afford the next year of school. But many fantastic internships run while school is still in session, and while they are all useful experiences, you still need to make your grades. Your studies can’t be allowed to fall by the wayside, or the internship will backfire on you. So here are a few strategies you can use to find the time to study, even during your internship.

Trim back your social life. It may be the last thing you want to hear, but your social life is the first area you need to address to make sure you can continue studying. That doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in a room for the whole semester, watching the world go by. But it does mean you have to pick and choose your moments more carefully. There’s something to do every night on campus, but that event, screening, club meeting or party will happen again when you’re not so busy. Keep your social life contained to the weekends, and you can put in a couple hours of work each night of the week. Better yet, split your weekend up. Saturday you can have to yourself (which also means a free night out on Friday), but Sunday you have to buckle down. If you’re not willing to make sacrifices, you’ll never fit it all in.

Take advantage of down time. You may not realize it, but there is a ton of time that goes to waste in between everything you’re doing every day. The walk to class, the car, bus or train ride to the internship, even the ten minutes that you’re waiting to pick up a pizza is time you will never get back. So why not do something with it? Record your lectures, and play them back on your iPod or MP3 player whenever you have down time. Keep a book with you at all times to take advantage of those few unexpected moments that come up. And do a bit of homework over the lunch break from your internship. It may sound severe, but your time is going to be limited, so a little extra discipline is in order.

Ask for help. You may be juggling schoolwork and your internship, but you don’t have to do it alone. Let your family and friends know what you have going on. You’ll be surprised how quickly they offer to help. And there’s no shame in taking it. Your parents could offer to cook for the week, taking one chore off your plate. Maybe a friend will offer to study with you, to help speed up the process. If that’s not enough, let your professor know what’s going on. He wants to see your level of commitment rewarded, and may suggest study shortcuts or offer to keep office hours open for you. And get home tutors for the subjects you need the most help with. The extra expense each week will pay back big time when your impressive internship and sterling grade point average land you a great job.

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