Balancing act: Going to school and having an internship

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

Let’s be honest, attending school has been a little rough over the past year. With the sudden shift to online instruction last March due to the global pandemic, students who were working at an internship while they were in school were suddenly working from home. 

I was one of those students, working at WAVY TV 10 in Portsmouth as a digital communications Intern. I was going to the station three times a week. It was an amazing experience and allowed me to experience working at a local TV station. When the pandemic hit, I was forced to come back home and continue my internship from my desk, 200 miles away from the station. 

I tried to keep up with the workload of both school and WAVY TV, but working on everything in one place was overwhelming for me. When my internship with WAVY eventually ended, I realized that I was overwhelmed because I was so used to being in the office. Without being in the office, I had a more challenging time trying to put my mind to what I need to do. 

Even while I was at school and didn’t have an internship, I never did any of my schoolwork in my dorm/room. I always did my schoolwork in the library, a place I associated with being productive. With the sudden change, I had to figure out the best way for me to be my most productive, even when I’m somewhere I don’t associate with productivity. 

During the fall semester, I was fortunate enough to secure an internship with the D.C. Public Charter School Board. I had to build my internship schedule around my school schedule, but having to make sure that class and work meetings didn’t overlap was a struggle. 

The first thing I had to do was make sure I had a set schedule where I worked exclusively on projects related to my internship. My first class started at 11 a.m. on most days, so I decided that from 9 to 11 a.m., I would exclusively work on my internship. On the other hand, my days usually ended around 3 p.m. to work on my internship from 3 to 6 p.m. Now I’m not perfect. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to stick to my schedule, and I would work on internship responsibilities or schoolwork in the middle of the day and vice versa. Having that balance is essential, especially when it comes to online school. 

Last semester was tough, to say the least. Being able to have a set schedule brought some structure to my life. It would be best if you didn’t have to put your schooling at risk in order to give yourself an edge in the future. With just a bit of preparation, you can put your best foot forward at both!

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