My internship, like most accounting internships or full-time jobs, consists of being in the office from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. This typical 40-hour work week is very different from the average college student’s schedule. It takes some time to adjust yourself to this schedule both mentally and physically. Give it time and you’ll learn to love the lifestyle and learn a few tricks to make the most of the work day.
Working 8-5 has both its pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros: you’re done at 5, you have nothing to do on the weekends, your schedule is consistent and planned out ahead of time, and you don’t have to worry about work once you leave the office. The cons (which I find to be a simple annoyance): you have to get up bright and early every morning and staying focused for eight hours straight can be difficult. When I compare the 8-5 workday to my own college schedule, I find that I am usually busy 8 to midnight during school but have a lot of wasted time such as travelling between classes and napping. In the end, while the work week schedule may appear different than my college student schedule, both lifestyles keep my busy, occupied, engaged, and motivated.
In college I don’t drink coffee regularly. Since the beginning of my internship, I have learned to love coffee. Coffee gives me that boost to be motivated and productive throughout the work day. Drinking coffee has real benefits such as keeping you energized and focused. When I’ve got a tough day ahead of me, I know that coffee can help make a long eight hour work day feel short.
One of the reasons why an 8-5 workday can be tough is because there aren’t too many large breaks during the day. Your desk chair can get uncomfortable after just a few hours. Finding reasons to get up and walk around even if just for a couple of minutes helps to lessen the toll that the long day takes on you.
Given that Midland isn’t a large city, I am able to go home for lunch and still have plenty of time to eat before heading back. My tip is to try to get out of the office for lunch every once in a while. Getting away from the office for lunch helps to take your mind off of work and rejuvenate you in time for the second half of the work day.
Reflecting on my internship, I now realize that working 8-5 isn’t as bad as some will make it out to be. I believe the positive work-life balance far outweighs the few cons of the long work day. I’ve learned a few of the tricks above to help keep me focused and motivated throughout the day. When my mind is focused on the work in front of me, the days fly by.