When Director Howard mentioned that it was an option to participate in two internship programs as a part of the SULA program I knew I was in trouble. Did she recommend the time commitment? Not necessarily. Did I know I was inevitably going to take on the challenge? For sure.
I’m now halfway through the SULA program and my two internships and I are still going strong. One is as a Production Intern at the media company Studio71, the other is as a Business Development Intern at the creative agency MKG. I’m not going to lie – it’s been a tiring experience, but I truly believe it’s allowed me to squeeze the most out of my time here. Below I share some tips for others who are also looking to brave the two-internship semester.
With yourself and your employers. Take a minute to ask yourself, realistically, how much of your time can you commit to your internships? If you know you’re someone who can grind Monday through Friday, by all means go ahead. But if you know that you’ll need time in your week to recharge, create your schedule with that in mind from the beginning instead of realizing you need to adjust later. Your employer will appreciate your ability to follow through, and you’ll save yourself the headache that comes with overcommitting.
It doesn’t make sense to go out of your way to intern at two companies where you’re essentially doing the same thing. In that case, do yourself a favor and be 100% in at one place. But, if you’re interested in experiencing different industries/positions, taking on two internships is the way to go. It keeps your week interesting and helps get a feel for which path is more your speed.
By signing your internship agreements you’re making a commitment. Not to get all adult-world on you but it’s really important in a professional environment to be reliable. It’s totally possible that you’ll end up liking one position more than the other, but that doesn’t change the fact that you committed to both. Treat each position with respect and don’t play favorites.
Sometimes you may get a unique opportunity at one company that might require you to adjust your schedule for the week. Like helping out one on a Monday shoot when that’s the day you’re at the other. There’s no need to turn down the opportunity at that place, but you do need to make sure you’re being honest about your time with the other. Find a way to even out your week, all the while maintaining a candid line of communication with everyone involved.
You may have made a commitment to your employers, but they also made one to you. If one of your employers isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, let them know in a respectful way. If an employer is asking for more of your time than you promised, know that you have the right to say no. They won’t be aware of all your commitments outside of the office, so you need to be the one to draw the line where you see fit.
Not only will you have a commute to each internship, but you’ll likely have to make a commute straight from the office to class. Adjust your work schedule according to how long it will take you to get to class from each office. It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but it’s really important because you only have these classes once a week, and showing up late because of traffic is not an option.
If you’ve made it this far that means I haven’t scared you away yet. Cool! My last piece of advice is to be kind to yourself. Give yourself more room than you think you’ll need. Whether that’s an empty day on Friday or late mornings on Wednesday, find some time for yourself. It’s really easy to get caught up in a 9-5, especially with classes at night. So do yourself a favor, and make time for self care. You got this.