For all of you starting fall internships soon, congratulations! You’re one step closer to securing your dream job, and that’s a pretty impressive feat. But interning throughout the year can also mean losing quality time to socialize. I would know—I’ve spent the past three months trying to balance the two! But in the end, I found it was possible to impress my co-workers and still kick back with friends. Here are five fool-proof ways to stay engaged in both worlds.
1) Take advantage of your weekends
Three-day weekend or not, focus on making the most of the time you have. Don’t just sit around watching Netflix for hours on end (even if finishing a full season of Orange is the New Black sounds incredibly appealing). An overnight trip can make the weekend feel much longer, and you’ll make lasting memories. Try incorporating Friday afternoon into your schedule—head up to a camping spot right after work and stay until Sunday. It’ll seem like a full vacation, and you’ll get to spend quality time with the people who matter most to you.
2) Plan a lunch date
Meeting a friend at lunchtime will leave you re-energized, and it’s a nice way to break up your long work day. Have one of your friends stop by the office so you two can walk together to a nearby spot—the fresh air will feel so nice after sitting in an office all morning! Just remember not to order something too heavy at lunch, because you don’t want to suffer from a food coma in the afternoon.
3) Don’t talk about work with friends
Time with your friends shouldn’t be full of stress and work talk. Of course, if you’re excited about something you’re doing at your internship, you should share that with people you care about. But try not to rattle off the tasks you have to complete by next week while you’re spending time with others, because chances are they’d rather talk about things that they can connect with as well. Plus, your time away from work should be just that: time away from work.
4) Plan outside the box
If you feel like you’ve been lacking in the social department, it’s time to plan ahead and get creative. On weeknights, go to an early concert or try out food trucks. Activities like these will feel exciting and special. The slice of time between leaving work and getting back to your dorm is precious and, oftentimes, extremely rewarding. Even if some of the outings take a little more planning, you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort. Take a look at a local paper or a site like Eventbrite for ideas of what to do.
5) Be your office’s social butterfly
Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you have to be anti-social! Make an effort to introduce yourself to, and genuinely get to know, your co-workers. Becoming friends with people at the office will make time go by more quickly, and there’ll be more of an incentive to produce quality work once you’re in the office. This is the perfect way to balance your work and social lives—just combine the two!