How to Balance Your Studies and an Internship

Many university students around the world decide to take on work or internship experiences in conjunction with their university studies. After all, the flexibility of college (especially with online learning) often allows for open time slots that can be filled with valuable work opportunities. When I was in college, I had a part-time job or internship every single semester of my four years. In some semesters, I had two jobs and my classes to juggle – it is something that not everyone can balance, but it’s much easier to succeed when you break it down step by step.  


While balancing your studies and an internship does involve an increased level of time-management and commitment, it is absolutely doable so long as you stick to a strict schedule. You will also want to make sure you’re giving equal effort to each of your obligations, and not allowing one to dominate all your time and energy. 


If you have plans to complete an internship and university classes at the same time, consider the following advice. 


Make a schedule and stick to it


The first step is determining when your internship will be taking place and how you can fit this around your classes. Some students will decide to only enroll in classes on certain days, say Tuesday and Thursday, which leaves Monday, Wednesday, and Friday open for their internship hours. Other students may choose classes in the mornings, and begin their internship in the afternoon each day. 

The key to making a schedule is thinking about how you best operate. If you’re definitely not a morning person, it might not be the best idea to enroll in the earliest morning class or begin work super early. You know how you perform best, and you’ll want to make sure you take this into account when finalizing your schedule. Balancing work and school is certainly not easy and will take some time to get used to – sticking to your schedule will really help with this balancing act. 


When it comes to creating a schedule, there are many great free calendar apps which help with managing your commitments. You can download many of these onto your mobile device and even enable notifications to alert you when you have class or work starting soon! Having a clear and organized schedule can prove to be a gamechanger when it comes to properly managing your time.



Keep track of your efforts and hours


As mentioned before, one of the keys to balancing work and study is ensuring you’re giving equal effort to both. No company is going to want an intern whose life is dominated by their school work, and is constantly showing up late to work or neglecting meetings because they have to finish their university assignments. 


The same goes for neglecting your school work or showing poor effort on exams and projects. While gaining internship experience is very important, it is not good to do so at the expense of your educational requirements. This is where finding that balance may get difficult, as there are only so many hours in a day to get things done. Make sure you’re keeping track of how many hours each week are being put towards your classes and your internship. 


If your supervisor is giving you feedback that you need to put more effort into your work, make sure you take this into account. The same goes for professors who may say that they feel your test scores or work are slacking. 


Be aware of important deadlines


Looping back to the importance of keeping a schedule, you’ll want to make sure you stay on top of important deadlines. For school, this could be due dates of exams, projects, and presentations. For your internship, you may have projects due or an important company meeting that you need to ensure you keep on your radar. 


It is vital that you are meeting deadlines for both your company and your university. The moment you’re made aware of an important event, or something being due, mark that date on your calendar. Think about how much effort and time each assignment will take, and try to block off time for when you will work on each one. This can really help you with managing your time and give you a better idea of your level of productivity.


All in all, juggling school and work is all about trial and error. If this is your first time balancing both, you will surely find ways that you can improve in for the next time around. Take note of these – for example, you may discover that it’s better to have days where you only have class, and other days where you only have work. Or, maybe you need to take fewer credits next semester so you can have more time to put towards an internship. 


Loads of students have successfully balanced work and study, and with proper scheduling, time-management, and effort, so can you!


Interested in enrolling in a global work experience to gain skills and career experience? We offer in-person and remote internships with our partners at Virtual Internships. You can work in a variety of popular career fields such as Computer & IT and Marketing! We allow students to complete an internship for 1-4 months at 10, 20, or 30 hours per week – the choice is yours! This flexibility means that you can tailor your internship to fit around your class schedule – so consider enrolling in our program to build your professional skills and experience!