3 Tips to Balancing College, an Internship AND a Part-time Job

Posted by | August 3, 2016 | Tips for Interns

College is said to be ‘the time of your life’, but in saying that – it is a very busy time of your life. From the get go, you’ll know how many credits you’re taking and how many hours a week in class that means. But then all the other elements factor in.

You may have a part time job, one that you may need to be able to afford to go to college, and depending on your chosen degree, you may have an internship as well.

With all these responsibilities, you will have to be figure out a way that works for you to balance it all.

1. Prioritise

It won’t be possible to manage everything on your plate unless you decide an order of what is most important – and what needs most of your attention.

College classes and work should come first – you’re paying for this education for your future, right? Don’t skip out on classes because you have to go to work or your internship. While it might seem like the easy option to skip a class here or there, it won’t be worth it in the long run when you’re behind on work and it starts to reflect in your grades.

If you’re really stuck, make sure you talk to your lecturers/professors. They are there to help – and can help you when it comes to having to prioritise and balance all you have going on.

So college comes first – where do the part time job and internship fall? That’s going to be a tough choice in seeing which one is more important.

The internship is for college, so maybe that should be prioritized – but you need the job to pay for school/living money while at school. Once again, communication is going to be key. Talk to your boss/supervisor at both the internship and job, and see if there is a good schedule that you can work out to fit both in, without running yourself completely ragged.

2. Organise

After deciding what way to prioritise all your activities – it’s time to break out the planner and get organised.

Everyone has a different way of keeping themselves organised. It may be daily/weekly/monthly planners, or lists on lists on lists of responsibilities – find what works best for you.

Personally, I have a combination of both, using a planner to layout my general schedule of where I need to be and when – and then use lists to micro-manage specific projects or tasks.

Decide what works best for you – and stick to it. When you get a flow going things will become easier and should (mostly) get rid of the panicked moments of “OMG I totally forgot to do that”.

Have a calendar that shows your schedule (maybe colour coordinate) for school, work and interning. Then specify (Post-It notes are great) what needs to be done for each.

College – write this paper, need to have this done for the group project, etc.

Internship – plan the social media campaign, meeting: need to bring notes on new clients. You get the idea.

Now that you have micro managed every element of your college work and interning life – don’t forget about yourself.

Yes it’s easy to throw yourself into and get lost in all the work, but remember college is the best time of your life – don’t forget to enjoy it. Build some time into your hectic schedule to do what you want to do.

Whether that’s catching up on sleep, going out with friends, or watching endless hours of Netflix, it’s important to unwind and give yourself a break.

3. Have a backup plan

No matter how organized you are, you have to be prepared for sudden changes. If you end up with extra college work, or if it seems like a certain week is going to be extra busy – will you be able to adjust your schedule?

Again, this is why it’s important to communicate with bosses/supervisors at work and internships, just in case those schedules have to be adjusted to allow for more focus on studies.

Hopefully there won’t be any surprise projects or a build up of work – but it is good to be prepared for the chance that it would happen so that you know what to do – and not end up in a panic.

Prioritising, staying organised, and having a back up plan are a few ways that will help you to be able to balance going to college, working and having an internship.

Know what is most important, keep your calendar updated, and remember to give yourself a well-deserved break every now and again.


Author: Katie Mannion

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