Being a college student means being active — professionally, educationally, and socially — all year ’round. Summer “breaks” are not what they used to be.
It’s important that we as students use our summer time off from school to the best of our advantage. This means getting ahead professionally and starting to build a resume so that when the time comes, we have something to show for our time.
Internships are a great way to begin building that resume; they allow for a student to explore their interests while gaining experience in a field they might want to work in some day.
Some positions might be close to home, but others may require a commute, or even moving to a different city for the summer, which can be a great experience by itself.
If your position does require you to move to a new city, it will most likely take some adjusting and getting used to.
Here are a few tips for getting acclimated in a new city for your internship.
1. LEARN THE AREA
Upon first arriving, it’s probably a smart idea to pay attention to where you are at all times. This means staying attentive to street names and signs, and even landmarks to help you better understand where you are.
Keep an eye out for public transportation. Learn the bus lines and train lines if you come to the city without a car, or plan on commuting to your internship every morning.
Arriving to the new city where you’ll be living a few days in advance is also advisable so as to ensure you have enough time to get settled into your one bedroom apartment in Raleigh, NC before your internship begins.
Moving to a new place where you don’t know anyone can be extremely intimidating and anxiety inducing, especially if you’ve never been there before. This is why learning the area is essential. You’ll feel better about the new city and more at home in no time.
2. EXPLORE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Once you learn the streets and a basic gist of where you are in your new city, take some time to look around and explore your new surroundings.
Walk around the neighborhood you’re living in and scout out restaurants that look good, grocery stores, coffee shops, boutiques and whatever else the area has to offer.
You’ll want to become acquainted with your new neighborhood, where you’ll be doing your grocery shopping, getting coffee in the morning, etc. Plus it’s always nice to just walk around and enjoy the outdoors.
3. STOCK UP ON FOOD FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO
In the days leading up to your internship start date, hopefully you’ve explored enough and found a grocery store you like. Stock up on food, whether it consists of frozen meals you can whip up quickly, or ingredients for cooking up something nice.
You probably want to get this chore done early on — before your work week starts — because once you’re working a 9-5 internship, the first thing you’ll want to do when you get home is relax.
4. PLAN FOR YOUR FIRST DAY
After taking some time to get used to the city you’ll be living in for the summer months, make sure you do all you can to prepare for your first day.
As a college student it’s essential to come off as professional as possible in a work environment; this means acting like a professional, not a college student.
Plan out your wardrobe for the upcoming weeks, which should most likely consist of business casual gear, or something along those lines. Every setting has its own rules for dress code.
Last but not least, plan out the route you’ll be taking to work, and how you’ll be commuting. If you’ll be driving, make sure you know how to get there. If you’ll be taking public transportation, be sure to get on the right train or bus!
5. BE SOCIAL
Try to be open and outgoing wherever you are, whether it’s a coffee shop, or the grocery store. Chances are you don’t know anyone yet, so try to meet new people wherever you go.
You could even join a local gym, or sign up for a class at a yoga studio. Do whatever you can to make a conscious effort to be around and meet new people.
6. ENJOY YOURSELF
While taking everything else into consideration, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! You’re in a new city, making new connections and exploring your professional interests while learning about how you do on your own.
Having an internship in another city is a great experience for what the real world will be like post college, so soak it all in. Make the most of your time in this new city, and have some fun too.