What was your internship hours and how’d you balance it with acads?

How many hours a day are you in the office and how do you balance internship and acads?

[2019 Update: That is a table of my hours at every internship I had. 

For full-time internships, not all of the time I was in office was working hours since traffic was so bad we’d just stay and have dinner there. What this table does not cover are the hours spent commuting to and fro that offices of my full-time internship. So, add 1.5 hours to the start and end to account for my life in transit.

For my part-time internship, I did it during the school year, so I was balancing internship work on top of academic stuff.]


So how did I balance interning and school at the same time?

Every morning, before I have breakfast and usually when I’m commuting, I write down what needs to be done today in a message to myself. I’m always on the train, be it summer or school year, meaning that I usually get to wherever I want to be 1-2 hours early (in my efforts to avoid horrible Manila traffic). 

All the readings, how many clients to call, what meetings to set and what to attend; everything is on a list in my phone every morning on the train. It’s usually not long enough to even scroll down because I forget things all the time. I have a terrible memory.

So the list is helpful but never set in stone because there’s still something to add. I let it loosely guide what I want to do today.

Related: How has the internship experience changed your views?

[2019 Update: It’s so weird reading this because everyday I’m still on the MRT to get to work and I still do that habit. Old habits die hard. I write a Telegram message to myself with all the things I need to do today, and then strike it out later on when I’m done. Should probably move to Evernote or something better but am too lazy.

Main thing I added in to my time management was using Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar to govern my life. Dinners with friends, dentist appointments, sometimes even going to the gym or to the bank. It’s all in both my personal and professional calendar so that nothing overlaps.]

When it comes to acads, I’ve learned something cool. If you can force extreme focus and motivation, it’s possible to finish all your school stuff in 1-2 hours. A 5 page essay is just 75 minutes of writing shit and 25 minutes of you fixing it to be presentable.

And working early in the morning is the best because nobody else is fully awake yet. Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc are still dead so you’ll just be looking at last night’s posts. Plus, there’s no one to talk to. So you really can’t do anything but work.

My weekends are surprisingly free. Unless I have an exam or a group work pass, I don’t really do much studying on weekends. I also don’t go out much because I’m kuripot, so I end up spending the time either doing internship stuff or reading leisure stuff.


How do I decide work priorities for the day?

The key to juggling internship with acads is to know what needs to be done today, and what can be done tomorrow. Or when you’re not about to have a nervous breakdown because there’s so many things on your to-do list for the day.

I try to break down every big project I can foresee into as many little steps as possible so as to get a headstart on everyone else because I like getting 8 hours of sleep, especially during hell month. And I get insanely happy whenever I can cross something off the list. So sometimes I’ll add stuff I did even if it’s not on the list, just so I can cross it off.

If I force myself to do things when I’m not in the mood, it never works out. I’m really lazy so it’s easy to just not do things and let it fester off to the side. I have to have it booked into my schedule so I can get in the ~zone~. Or I have to make a fake deadline that’s fast approaching to force me into work mode. But I do it anyways because I can’t stand being mindlessly idle either.

Related: Which way’s best to send my resume to a company? Job portal or direct email or where?


Conclusion:

Not gonna lie, balancing internship and acads (along with commute, friends, family, fun stuff) is hard. I really love sleeping at 10:30pm so I had to make a lot of adjustments. Like being upfront with groupmates that I don’t do all-nighters. And never being in Katip past 5pm.  

But it’s what I decided I want to do. It’s so important to me to keep myself busy with internships because I’m worried about how competitive I’ll be when I graduate. Gaining new, transferable skills while still being in school isn’t for everyone but I know it’s for me. I have too much I want to do and not enough time so I gotta slot it in somehow.

[2019 Update: Do not get an internship on top of school work if you have a lot on your plate. Delivering poorly across all your commitments because you have so many and you don’t have a strong time management habit seems to be common in people my age and below nowadays. It’s also a recipe for burnout.

Ultimately I decided to live this kind of school life because 

  1. I wanted to prioritize my health. At that time, I was always falling sick and was rapidly gaining weight since I had money and was stressed out. 
  2. My brother was home alone after school. Both my parents work, so I decided to drop all org work and just go home straight so I can be with him and prepare dinner for all of us.
  3. I didn’t own a laptop. Still don’t actually. So I really had to go home to do all my work at our desktop. 

So interning at a place that was part-time, results-based, and didn’t ever ask me to go anywhere without covering my expenses was a great thing for me to do. I didn’t feel like my life was limited and I got to learn more about myself through the internship. 

Which ended up informing how I write and run this blog. It all worked out in the end. I’m happy I did those Blogapalooza internships while studying and if you ever have the chance to do the same, I highly recommend you do.] 

Related: Do regular employees look down on interns?


Bonus Question

This isn’t really about internships lol but is there any chance you’ll do a guide on time management?

I’ll do something better, I’ll link you to the 2 time management bibles I follow.

The “Burner List”—My simple, paper-based system for focused to-dos

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time


In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective, where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.

Internship FAQ is a slot for me to share things I’ve learned over the course of my internships (and probably early work years), so that you guys don’t have to trial and error this stuff like I did. 

It’s my way of giving back because I wish that when I was a freshman, a resource like TBC existed to help guide not to waste my time on things that don’t work here in the Philippines. I sincerely hope that what I write helps you reach your dreams a little faster.

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About Justine

And if you want to know more about me, or about TBC, read my bio! You can also reach me at justine@thebordercollective.com Or connect with me over Twitter, IG, and LinkedIn, @justineltchua there.

Hope you read something useful, til the next time I write something, bye~


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