The Workplace

Balancing work and school

By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach

Most internships have set hours noted in the internship descriptions. However, more and more internships have flexible hours to accommodate students. Here are some tips on getting help from your internship supervisor to develop your internship schedule.

  1. Explain your class schedule, work hours, and any commitments, such as team practice because you’re on a sports scholarship.  Your concern over these other obligations demonstrates to your supervisor that you’ll have the same dedication to duty at your internship.
  2. Come prepared with a proposed new schedule, providing your supervisor with a good starting point rather than expecting him/her to develop your schedule for you.
  3. When you create your customized schedule, consult the company calendar, too, to incorporate holidays. At most internships, the number of hours completed is more important than when they’re completed because the total number is often connected to how many academic credits you’ll receive.
  4. Consider alternate schedule options. Rather than coming every day, you could suggest staying for more hours per day and coming fewer days. You might ask if your internship could be extended, so you’re doing fewer hours a day over a longer period of time. Or you could investigate putting some internship hours into the weekend.
  5. Also consider blending on-site work with remote or virtual internship work, which could work well with your busy life. Ask your supervisor if you could do some assignments, such as research or report writing, at your computer in your dorm room, keeping track of your hours. If the supervisor is not as flexible as you would like and you value your internship, you might have to compromise by rescheduling a class or cutting back on your work hours. It’s a balancing act but well worth the effort.