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- Decreased Performance and Alertness
- Memory and Cognitive Impairment
- High Blood Pressure
- Exacerbated Pain and Headaches
- Digestive Problems
- Stress on Personal Relationships
- Poor Quality of Life
- Eat a balanced diet, and eat enough.
- Drink 8 glasses of water, every day.
- Set aside unstructured time for yourself and your friends; vegging out on the couch can be relaxing and rejuvenating.
- Exercise releases endorphins and keeps your body running smoothly. If a full workout session isn’t an option, try going for long walks, doing yoga or tai-chi, or biking instead of driving to places. You’ll feel better overall.
- Most importantly, get enough sleep!
- Direct your supervisor to the Regional Internship Center. They frequently hold Employer Workshops to help employers craft internship programs that benefit the organization and the intern.
- Have a weekly check-in with your supervisor regarding the work you’re doing, how he/she views that work, and what long and short term goals can be developed. This can be as little as 15 minutes per week.
- Suggest projects for you to do based on your skill set. Are you skilled at programming or web development? Offer to help with the website. Good with a video camera? Create a webseries or short video based on some aspect of your organization that could be used repeatedly. Use this opportunity to make something that fits your strengths and pumps up your resume!
- Make sure your supervisor knows the ground rules, and stand up for yourself. If you agreed to work 15 hours a week and your boss wants 30, that’s not okay, and it’s not something you should tolerate. Be extremely clear, verbally and in writing, what you want out of this internship, and what time resources you have. Most people are reasonable, and you’ll be able to find a good middle ground.
Monday: Wake up! Class! Work! Class! Internship! Club meeting! Band Practice! Gym! Class! Bed!
Does this sound like your life? If it does, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Students frequently schedule themselves into a corner, filling every hour of the day with an activity. Whether you’re working to pay for school, at an internship to beef up your resume, in class for your degree, or a club that you joined because you really love to play co-ed full contact rugby, it’s easy to overwhelm yourself with the responsibilities that come with being active and involved.
Being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance is a great way to show employers that you can handle a heavy workload, and can prioritize and manage your time. If you find yourself with a regular free block of time, certainly consider adding in an internship or professional activity to increase your skills and experience. You’ll be thankful you spent those hours working on a project instead of catching up on Glee.
However, there are real dangers to overextending yourself, too. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation have detrimental effects on both mental and physical health, including:
The work-life balance is crucial to maintaining your happiness and health. If you find yourself unhappy, unable to enjoy activities you usually do, chronically exhausted, eating too much or too little, short-tempered, or generally unlike your normal self, take a moment to examine all the events you have going on. While maintaining your commitments and upholding your responsibilities is important, your health is more important.
There’s nothing wrong with dropping an activity to take care of yourself. While dropping school, work, or an internship may not be an option, you may want to examine extracurricular activities and see if that time would be better spent elsewhere. Here are some tips to keep in mind for living a healthier, more productive life:
You are the most important aspect of your life. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but the work-life balance is essential to keeping yourself happy and healthy.
About a week ago, I had the following conversation with a coworker:
Her: Remember those two interns we interviewed last week?
Me: Sure! When do you think you’ll make a decision on them?
Her: Yeah, they’ll be here in an hour. If you could give them an orientation and give them something to do for the rest of the day, that would be great!
Me: . . . I’m sorry, what?
Thrust upon me was the task of creating an orientation, an immediate program, and an outline for a longer-term plan for two students. As an intern starting a new placement, you may be nervous. But remember this: your supervisor may be just as nervous as you.
Now, this is not to inspire rebellion or distrust. Many organizations have established an internship program, and are ready to hit the ground with you. There’s no reason to assume that your organization will be any different, especially if you know their history regarding interns. (Which you should, since you did a bunch of research on them, right?)
However, be aware that a new internship program can be fraught with missteps – your supervisor may not know exactly what an internship is supposed to be, especially if the job of creating the program just fell into his/her lap. He or she may expect too much from you, or not give you challenging enough work. There are several ways to be proactive and improve the situation in a cooperative and beneficial manner!
In the end, it’s about communication! Don’t be afraid to speak up and guide your internship in a way that works for you and the organization. Nothing is perfect the first time around, but you may be able to help shape a new internship program for the people who come after you, leaving a lasting impression on both your supervisor and the organization!
Young professionals! An important question!
Okay, so, you’ve scoured online postings, department bulletin boards, asked all your friends, and you’ve found the perfect internship in Pittsburgh. You dazzled them in the interview and you’ve been asked to start on Monday. You’re even receiving credit! Your ducks are in a row and you’re eager to get started on what is undoubtedly a fabulous resource learning opportunities. So:
Do you want your internship experience to look something like this:
Or are you looking for work experience more like this?
You’re probably thinking, “Well that’s obvious! Of course I don’t want to be just a coffee monkey for the next six months. I’ll take high fives and fist bumps, please.”
Hold up there, kid, it’s not so easy. The unfortunate truth is that some employers DO see interns as an extra hand to make copies, run errands, and open the mail. I have never held an internship where basic office administrative tasks WEREN’T part of the description. And that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing: knowing all the little daily tasks that have to occur so an organization keeps functioning is essential to understanding the priorities and culture of that particular organization.
However, there’s no reason an internship has to be nothing but filing. Your employer may not realize what a resource you are and the skills you bring to that workplace. How do you make it clear that you have a wealth of talents to offer?
You are the key to your professional development!
You TELL them! Take every opportunity to suggest new ideas or different ways to look at the problems/projects in your workplace. After all, you’re interested in this organization and its work, its mission, its vision. You should have some ideas about ideal projects you’d like to do at the organization, or ways you’d like to contribute to its cause. Offer to help with a current project: conduct research, make phone calls, write a section of a report. If you’re tech-savvy, look through the website and suggest ways to improve it, and then offer to make the changes yourself. You could create a small project for you to take the lead on. If all else fails, just ask! An eager and inquisitive employee can be hard to find, and your boss will appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to help.
In the end, your internship isn’t you passively accepting work that’s given to you. It’s a product of your effort: what you get out of it depends on what you put in. And you want to improve more than just your coffee-making skills, don’t you?