The Part-Time / Full-Time Debate

Going into my internship at MS&L, I knew that there would be two other interns, but not much else. As it turns out, they had both already graduated–one with a master’s degree–and were to be working a full-time  internship with MS&L, 40+ hours a week.

At first, I felt like the lame duck intern. Because of my course schedule, it’s only possible for me to intern on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, and full days on Wednesday. Roughly 20 hours a week, and not nearly the full presence in the office that the other two interns had. At first, I was a little worried this situation would cause problems.

Because I wasn’t in the office as much, our colleagues tended to forget about me. They’d forget my schedule and, if they couldn’t find me, just pass on the assignment to another intern. For large assignments, some need a full-time presence, to attend meetings on Mondays or Thursdays and put in more hours than I could. This kind of left me in the dark.

But not all is lost! Turns out, it just needed a little bit of time. Part-time internships are a fact of life for full-time students. I don’t have the financial capability to take off a semester for a full-time internship, nor did MS&L expect me to do such a thing. For me, it was just a matter of asserting myself, keeping in touch via e-mail if I’m not in the office, and making sure they knew they could rely on me, even if I wasn’t in the office every day.

Now I have three large projects I’m involved in, as well as my hand in several others. I’m getting plenty of significant experience and I’m growing closer and closer with the team. I’m learning more every day, and learning that some of my colleagues make absolutely incredible mentors.

If you’re stuck in a part-time internship and think you’re going to be left out–don’t worry. Just be sure to put yourself out there and make it known that you can perform just as well on a part-time schedule as you can on a full-time one.

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