Living on your own in college is entirely different from living on your own as an intern. Establishing a routine is key!
After these few weeks as an intern in Washington, D.C., I came up with an outline of what I find most essential in finding your own routine
At my internship, I make a daily checklist of meeting times and tasks on a notepad. It is important for me to have a physical list that I can check off and makes me feel more productive. I tested out different organizational methods until I found one that I enjoy the most. As a design intern, my notepad also includes future tasks and other thumbnails I sketch for different designing projects.
Networking, volunteering, TWC events, work obligations, protests. Every day, there’s at least 5 events that I want to attend after I get off work. The ability to plan ahead is crucial since I haven’t yet learned how to clone myself. I use my planner to track my events from a weekly perspective. I have a color-coded planner that notes down all the events I want to attend, weekends my friends are visiting, weekends I will be traveling, and other important deadlines I can’t miss. Being reasonable and responsible with your time is important, so be sure to only pick the best opportunities you know you will benefit from and enjoy the most.
Learn to Cook
At school, whenever I’m hungry, I can just go to the dining hall. As an intern, when I’m hungry, I have three options: cook, spend more money than I can afford on a meal, or go hungry. Fortunately, I enjoy cooking and am willing to spend the time to make a good-looking meal. It is also essential to learn how to meal prep; for me, that’s making easily microwavable meals for the week. After all, it is cheaper and (typically) healthier to cook your own food. The “IKEA effect” rings true with cooking as well: it’s much easier to like the things you make yourself. Learning how to cook is an important skill. It may take some time, but it’ll make a huge difference. More importantly, it’s about learning how to take care of yourself.
I want to maximize my internship experience in D.C. But, with everything that is continuously going on in this city, it is easy to feel like you’re running on a treadmill that is going too fast. Sometimes it’s necessary to slow down the speed. And that’s totally okay! Everyone practices self-care differently, but slowing down will allow you to dedicate time to yourself. My way is to sketch, write, clean, or reconnect with long-distance friends and family.
Give Yourself a Pat on the Back
I wish I learned this earlier: success is non-linear. Everyone is on their own individual path. It’s tempting to draw comparison to others, but it is often discouraging and damaging to do so. Whether you are a current intern, future intern, or anyone in between, give yourself a pat on the back today for being one step closer to your goal!