All I wanted during the school year was a summer internship in my college town so I could stay with my friends. When my wish was granted, I took a step back and realized I was now entering the real world. Working a summer internship is one of the most rewarding yet challenging aspects of growing up. Balancing work and play is most college students’ main challenge in their four years. If you can conquer the mission, you’re in for a sweet, sweet summer.
Make work your number one priority. Making work your top priority will make you an overall better person. You wanted the job; therefore, you should put 100% into it. Putting work first will teach you responsibility and hopefully bring out your inner drive that will teach you new things about yourself which can help you throughout the rest of your college and professional career. It’s challenging going from having summers off for the past 12+ years to working a full time internship, but it’s a new experience and it gives you a little taste of the real world.
Leave work at work. Sometimes it’s hard not to worry about work while you’re not there. But trust me; the company will not fall apart if you aren’t there. Once you clock out, think about what your plans are for the weekend and not about the number of phone calls you need to make tomorrow. Nothing productive comes from worrying about things out of your control. Give 100% while you’re at work so you don’t have any doubts about what you’ve completed when you leave.
Befriend your co-workers. C&A Industries, the company I work for, is great because I am one of 21 interns in the summer internship program. There are plenty of other people my age who I can relate to who are also struggling with their work/play balance. Once you befriend those people, the work day goes by much faster. It also gives you new people to go out with on the weekends.
Learn everything you can. You now have the competitive advantage over many of your classmates and you can use your internship knowledge in the classroom and future jobs. Get out of your comfort zone and talk to your supervisor about learning as much as you can by taking on new projects or shadowing in a different department. This will help you answer the lifelong question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
A summer internship is a beautiful thing, but giving up your summer for the first time is a challenge. You may not be able to lay out by the pool every day or go to the amusement park with your friends, but you’re putting yourself ahead of the rest of your classmates and making new connections that can help you out once you really have to enter the “real world” permanently. If you can master the work/play balance, your summer is sure to be a success.
Niki O’Shea is a junior at Creighton University. She is an intern in the Aureus Group Accounting and Finance division. In her free time, she likes to hang out with friends and family, go shopping, watch sports (Go Packers!), and be outside.