Interning During the School Year
Is interning during the school year right for you?
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
August 16, 2012
We say it all the time, but we’ll say it again: an internship is the first step toward your future career, and it’s imperative that you complete at least one internship during college. But with all of your other commitments, especially during the school year, how is it possible?
When students think of internships, they typically think of a 9 to 5 job that requires their attendance five days a week. While that is the case for many internships, there are also internships that offer students a little more flexibility, and more so during the school year.
So how do you get one of these flexible internships?
Visit your campus Career Center. During your first few days on campus, make it a point to get to your Career Center. They’ll have a pulse on internship opportunities during the school year that don’t require a full-time commitment. It also doesn’t hurt to talk to them now about next year’s summer internship openings.
They can also point you to various offices and professors on campus who might be looking for an intern. This is obviously ideal as your bosses will always put your schoolwork and related responsibilities before showing up for work and sticking to your initial schedule.
Make cold calls and visits to businesses in your college town. What are your future career pursuits? Find a local business or corporation in your college town that is in the same or a similar industry, and make a call or visit to their Human Resources department.
Ask about flexible internship opportunities for college students. If they don’t have a program, talk about opportunities to job shadow or serve in an unpaid capacity. Knowing that you’re in school and admiring your desire to simply learn, these companies are a lot more likely to accommodate your busy schedule.
Now that you know where to turn for the internship, how do you make the time?
Develop a strict schedule for yourself. There is no time like college to learn time management. When you land your internship, plot out your typical week and look for windows that allow you to study and still take part in your favorite extracurricular activities.
Granted, there will be some sacrificing on your part. You may have to skip out on your favorite intramural sport for the semester to complete your internship, but there is always next semester to get back into the game. In addition to scheduling class, work hours and study sessions, don’t forget to budget some time for fun. You’ll definitely need it!
Keep things in perspective. It can get easy to get bogged down by so many responsibilities at once, but look at the big picture. You’re not only furthering your education at this point, but you’re also laying the groundwork for your future career. Those long nights and stressful study sessions will be totally worth it when you’re talking about your internship, time management skills and lessons learned in future job interviews.
What do you think about interning during the school year? Is it worth it — or too stressful?