I’m going to be the first to say that my first semester as an internship veteran (if you will) was rough. You know that thing they say about reverse culture shock after studying abroad? Yeah, that applies to internships too, and I had no idea until I was actually in it.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Kat, you’re crazy! The semester after an internship is the same thing as coming back after a summer of working!” While this may be true for some people, I’m going to have to disagree. After a summer of 9-5 days doing work that I really love, I found going back to classes and homework to be an adjustment, and not in a good way. However, I was able to cope, and hopefully these tips will help you to do the same this semester!
1. Get back to your social life
I don’t know about you guys, but working a 9-5 this summer translated into my social life taking a backseat. It’s so difficult to meet up with friends after work when commuting is involved!
However, as the college atmosphere makes it so much easier to maintain a social life, take advantage of that. Text a friend to meet up with you at the dining hall, or grab a cup of coffee with someone you lost contact with over the summer. It’s the perfect way to get your mind off of homework and exams when you absolutely need to, and it’s something you should definitely take advantage of before your life turns into after-work happy hours and squeezing in shopping trips.
2. Indulge in college-only things!
Sleeping in until 10am. Going to the gym (or the dining hall!) at any time of the day. Mid-day naps. Walking around in sweatpants. These are all staples of the college lifestyle, and simultaneously are all things you can’t do once you start working full time!
Instead of thinking about how much you miss not having to study for exams, indulge a little bit in the quintessential college experience. You may never have the ability to do these things again, so take advantage of it. Personally, I know that although I will really miss working on my internship projects, I will never again take a mid-day nap for granted. You better believe I’ll be taking them as many times as socially acceptable this year!
3. Take what you learned and apply it to your semester
While the first two tips were a little silly, this one could actually help to better your chances of going back to an internship next year (or at a full time job!).
Remember the list that you made of things you learned this summer? Think about the skill set that you’ve acquired and see how that can help make your semester a little more enriched! Did you find out that you’re super interested in a form of research? Seek out an opportunity to do just that on campus! If you really liked learning about PR/Marketing during your internship, maybe join a couple of meetings for your respective major’s club. Use your internship experience to bolster your interests – it will make your school semester much more fulfilling!
4. Focus on improving your skill set for next summer!
Finally, there is room for all of us to improve – no one is perfect, and I know that I personally found tons of gaps in my knowledge from my internship experience. As a result, I’m going to try to cater my semester to building bridges through those knowledge gaps.
During my internship, I found that my CAD skills needed serious improvement, and I’ve since planned into my schedule a class to improve those skills. Similarly, if you felt that you needed more leadership experience before you jump back into the working world, maybe now is a great time to take a leadership role in one of your student orgs. Or maybe you need to brush up on a skill too, and there’s an opportunity to learn it on campus!
Even though the working world might seem infinitely better once you’ve gotten a taste of it, you’ll only be a first-time undergraduate once. It was hard to wrap my head around the idea of making college great after my internship, but I’ve since come to terms with the idea, and I am excited for what the semester has to offer.
This is a time for you to learn and grow without the responsibilities of adulthood – take advantage of it! I know I will be.