Beginning an internship in my third and final year at Bristol was exciting but brought with it a new sense of anxiety. I worried that a fresh commitment could consume my schedule and reduce my time for study and relaxation.
Yet, my internship took me out of routine and put me into one simultaneously. After two years of working to a virtually unchanged study schedule, it’s inevitable that most of us become comfortable and bored in equal parts. At university, third year is ‘crunch-time’ and the pressure piles up. For an arts student like myself, studying for a history degree, the key to success is all about getting your time right. Unfortunately, being the boss of your time comes with a whole host of drawbacks; the vast majority of us find it irksomely tricky. Workload expands into ‘free’ time and ‘free’ time becomes so precious that it becomes a window for procrastination and wasted energy.
To my surprise, by taking on an internship and taking away my time – I have found I have more. My internship is transforming the way I work: offering me a brand-new perspective on time-management. Earmarking one day per week to an internship, I’ve discovered that I can streamline my week. Fridays have become a University no-go. Aware of this in the rest of my week, I find I’m working harder and better as I know I have one less day. My week is more efficient.
Certainly, I never anticipated that my internship would turn out to be my respite. On a Thursday and a Saturday, I continue to be a university student fretting over essays, exams and deadlines. But on a Friday I work in an exciting tech start-up at the forefront of the industry; on a Friday there’s just no point in fretting. I don’t view my internship as ‘work’ anymore: it is my extended study break. I welcome the pleasant change of scenery from the university library or student house to The Engine Shed, where I’m surrounded by start-ups at the top of their game in a disruptive tech vanguard.
Recent research and numerous blogs suggest that side projects boost creativity and productivity. I’m certainly feeling those short-term benefits, whilst also appreciating the longer-term remuneration of my time as an intern.
Studying at the UK’s top universities offers you the opportunity to grow invaluable transferrable skills. Yet, there’s something you obtain from an internship that you just cannot extract from a degree. By working at YellowDog, I’m gaining an insight into a variety of different industries ranging from VFX to animation, from architecture to product design, from motion graphics to virtual reality. My experience has already given me the confidence to launch an in-house agency within my student union and is arming me for my career post-university with new skills, commercial awareness, and professionalism.
If you’re considering an internship, choose wisely! Opt for a company that you would like to be a part of: find something you want to sacrifice your time to – you will feel you’ll get the opportunity to grow in return. Shop around! There may be internship schemes to help guide and support you as you find the right step for you. If you’re in Bristol, the University of Bristol internship scheme gives you the option to source an internship yourself and apply for funding.
Don’t be afraid of your time – you’ll be surprised by what you can do with it.