College is a rewarding experience. If you see it as a tool to help you reach your goals, you can set yourself up for a variety of successes and opportunities, particularly at Michigan State University. College is also demanding because your purpose as a student is to graduate, and the road to graduation is paved by managing your time correctly.
An internship is a great resume and experience builder, placing you in real spaces to gain professional and life experience. It’s also, at the end of the day, another responsibility. This can be stressful, which is natural, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are ways to maximize the potential of your internship and classes in order to succeed at both.
Articulate Your Value
Internships are real, professional experiences in which you are expected to perform and, often, you are brought on because you bring value to the table. It’s your job, however, to articulate that value.
Supervisors may be able to see your potential but if you really want to be effective, you need to be able to communicate what you bring to the table and how you can bring more after you’ve secured a position. If expectations are clear, you don’t stress yourself out wondering if you’re doing a good job during that all-nighter studying for an exam.
Prioritize Your Commitments
It doesn’t matter how likable you are at your internship if you fail a class, and now you can’t graduate on time or afford to retake that class. If you take care of your academics when you are supposed to take care of them, then you’ll have so much more time for your internship. If you put your internship first every second of every day, you’ll stress out about your performance as a student when you don’t get things done.
Merge Your Responsibilities
While it’s not always so convenient, you get the most out of your internship if you do at least one of two things (preferably both): take it for college credit or as a paid position. It’s easier to succeed in an internship when it functions like a class that literally helps you graduate, or if it functions like a job. Working while in school is a common phenomena today, so why not consolidate your time when you can?
Document Your Strategy
Balance is synonymous with strategy and effective strategies are written down. Keep a planner, calendar, or use sticky notes as reminders of duties and to create a timeline of responsibilities in an average day. If you’re gifted in the sense that you have a good memory and usually don’t use a planner, still get a planner. Take a few minutes to create some sort of checklist for what you need to get done, then get it done! It also becomes easier to quantify your progress and accomplishments for professional reasons such as a resume, updating your LinkedIn account, preparing an elevator speech, etc.
Hold Yourself Accountable
All of the above methods are ways to maximize your responsibilities but we are human; we can make mistakes. If you miss a deadline, communicate what went wrong and provide a consistent solution. If you didn’t do as well on an exam and feel overwhelmed, talk to your supervisor and discuss your concerns. The key to fixing an error is consistency; it shows your capacity to grow and adapt to new challenges.
Contact us at Michigan Creative to discover opportunities that will help you succeed. We’d love to hear from you!
– Kris Johnson