How to Manage the Day to Day of Interning

If you’ve been following my blog at all recently, you will know that I’m three weeks into a twelve week internship with Fuel Theatre. (If you haven’t, you can read about weeks 1 and 2 here and here, and about week 3 on Friday!) This is a collection of tips that I’ve learnt so far about the more practical aspects of living as an intern, which I hope will be useful to you!

As I mentioned in my first blog post about my internship with Fuel, the most stressful moment of my first week (by an order of magnitude of about a million) was trying to navigate getting home on the first night. I cannot emphasise this point enough, if you’re going to a new city you don’t know well, WORK OUT YOUR COMMUTE IN ADVANCE. It will save you, if you’re anything like me, a lot of tears and stress. If you are in London, I recommend an app (which was recommended to me by a friend, who I thank) called Citymapper, which will a. show you all the possible routes, recommending the one it thinks is best (although you can take any if, for instance you’re uncomfortable with a particular tube line/station) and letting you know if there is anything you should know (e.g. that you can’t take the Piccadilly line from Covent Garden at 6pm). Citymapper covers lots of big cities around the world, but if it doesn’t cover the place you are working, Google maps is still a really really useful tool which does most of the same things. (Btw, though I wish I was because hey, unpaid internships are exactly that, unpaid, I am not sponsored by Citymapper, I just really think they’re great.)

Now that I’ve covered my biggest mistake, a few more smaller things.

Making your own lunch is cheaper than buying a sandwich. This should be obvious, but the biggest aspect to this is not only do you buy 1 bread roll at a time, rather than a multi pack of six at the start of the week, and pay more for that, if you go into a shop when you’re hungry because it’s lunchtime, and you’re rushed because you’re surrounded by dozens of other workers doing the same, you will pick up more food than you need and more expensive options because you haven’t thought about it. Making your own food is cheaper and healthier. I really recommend it. (Obviously, if you’re doing what I’m doing, and staying with people, it is nice to not take over their kitchen/fridge space. But a multi-pack of bagels will keep out of the fridge with your stuff so…)

If you have a long (or short by London standards, but still not actually all that short) commute, find something to do during it. This may be a book, game, music to listen to (in my case it’s a series of lectures on Greek tragedy to prepare for my next term at university, and occasionally sudoku, but whatever floats your boat is good) but have something because actually, that journey is a significant part of your day. (For the first two weeks, I spent over three hours a day commuting. At the moment it is very short: it’s between an hour and an hour and a half a day…) But also, don’t let it be so engrossing that you miss your stop!

Talk to your colleagues over lunch. More on this later, but as I’ve got more comfortable with my colleagues, I’ve done this a bit more and guess what! It’s simultaneously really nice (people are nice, and chatting is reassuring if you’re still a little nervous and finding your feet) and useful for learning purposes – people talk about work over lunch, and you will learn from that too.

That’s all for today! I hope you’ve found this useful and/or entertaining! Thanks as always for reading! Feel free to like this post if you enjoyed it, let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments, and follow the blog if you want to hear more. I’ll see you on Friday with an update on how week 3 of my internship went, and again next Monday with some more general advice!

Emily xxx

P.S. I just remembered another thing which should definitely be included in this post: It’s okay to charge your phone at work! In fact, it is positively encouraged if your phone looks like it might run out before you get to wherever you’re staying and you need it to be able to get there (did I mention getting home the first night was stressful?), but even if you don’t have that good an excuse, charging your phone at work is 100% okay.

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