Almost all college students have one goal: that dream internship. Whether you find yourself in the office of a Congress-person, a political foundation or some other position of your dreams, you didn’t get there by accident, and you won’t stay there by accident. Especially when your internship is during a busy semester, there are – at least – ten things to keep in mind.

Confirm your transportation

Odds are that your internship isn’t conveniently right on campus or a walk away. Before you return to campus, make sure you know how you’re getting to the office. Make sure you’re finding the best deal if you have to buy some kind of ticket or pass. Bookmark the train or bus schedule on your phone so you have it handy.

Organize your wardrobe

Unfortunately, your favorite FFL sweatshirt isn’t going to cut it in a professional office, so it’s important to have a developed professional wardrobe. If you’re not prepared, your life is going to become a stressful whirlwind of high heels and pencil skirts right before you run into the office.

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Memorize your schedule

Between classes, extracurricular activities and now your internship, it’s going to be easy to let something slip through the cracks. Make sure to write out your schedule – not just classes, but all your responsibilities – and memorize it right off the bat. You don’t want to end up sleeping in too late or walking to the wrong class.

Compile all supplies

If you’re anything like me, everything in your life is color-coded, starting with a beautiful, organized planner. For all your classes, you’re going to want a notebook and folder, different colored pens, pencils, highlighter and Post-It Notes, at least. Order your textbooks early so you’re not running around the library to find a copy to complete your first assignment. Make sure you’re prepared for your internship too. Have a at least a folder so that everything is organized.

Contact your professors & supervisors

Obviously, there is a difference between thorough and obsessive, but stay in touch with your supervisor throughout winter break so that you can confirm your starting date, ask any questions you may have and start to build a professional relationship. As well, I always send a quick email to my professors before the semester to acquaint myself with their personalities.

Think about time management

 You’re about to be incredibly busy, so it’s important that you have a game plan prepared. Ask yourself when you’re going to do work, but also when you’re going to eat and when you’re going to sleep. Being crazy busy is the trend now, but you have to make sure you actually have enough time to do everything you say you’re going to.

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Remember your health comes first

Self-care is always underrated in its importance. Sure, you might be taking 15 credits, have a great internship, and be involved with clubs on campus, but if you’re always sick or exhausted, it’s not worth it. Build in time to unwind, eat and rest always.

Adopt time-saving habits

 You can work hard and work smart. Maximize your time with the most efficient studying techniques, precooking some of your meals or asking for help sometimes. It’s absolutely impossible to give everything in your life 110 percent every single day. Allow yourself to occasionally lean on a friend for help or take a harmless shortcut.

Have priorities

Sure, an internship is a huge, but so is your education and your health. Don’t compromise your grades or well-being over an unpaid internship. If you are absolutely overwhelmed or rundown, sometimes you have to make the executive decision to give your body a break. There’s no shame in being human.

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Put your head down & work hard

That said, put everything you have into everything you’ve committed to this semester. No matter where you’re working, your supervisor will appreciate hard work and dedication if you demonstrate those qualities. Complete tasks to the best of your ability, be respectful and learn from those around you.

It’s a New Year, which means new opportunities, hurdles and beginnings. Make sure you take advantage of them.

Karly M.
Karly Matthews is a student at Temple University, where she is majoring in political science and journalism while minoring in Spanish. At any given moment, Karly can be found talking about Marco Rubio and advocating for conservative values with a large coffee mug and color-coded planner in hand.

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