Written by Kendrick Lewis – Program Advisor, the Institute on Business and Government Affairs
Your summer in Washington, DC is likely to be packed with exciting and enlightening information. At the end of your time here with TFAS, everything you learned and all of the experiences you gained may start to seem like a wonderful blur. Here are some helpful ways to organize yourself in a way that makes the most out of your summer.
- Keep a notebook. I recommend multiple subject notebooks. They neatly divide your notebook contents and often have pockets in which you can store memos or handouts for each subject. During guest lecture series, site briefings, professional development seminars, and classes, take notes on topics you find interesting. I find that by taking notes, I learn to draw more of my own conclusions, or more easily think of questions to ask. Organize your notes accordingly by subject.
- Binders are great, too! If you aren’t a big note-taker, binders are great for organizing memos, handouts, informational packets, and other miscellaneous materials you may collect over the course of the summer. Use dividers to break up the contents of the binder. You may want a tab for your internship work, your class work, and for TFAS events, or you may want to break it down further by designating a tab for each class or each set of events you attend.
- Make lists. At your internship, you’ll likely be engaged in a number of various projects and tasks that hone your administrative skills. Keep a running list of new skills you pick up while in the office (Excel, website editing, blogging, etc.). This will prove incredibly helpful when it’s time to update your resume. As you familiarize yourself with your internship, make lists of projects you want to do over the course of your internship.
- Update your planner. And if you don’t have one, get one! Although your program staff is diligent about providing weekly and monthly schedules, it doesn’t hurt to maintain a personal record of assignments you need to accomplish or events you need/want to attend. There are few things more satisfying than crossing off a completed task!
- Set goals. Personal progress rarely occurs within the confines of one’s comfort zone. Think about what you want to get out of your time here in DC, and then make strides to accomplish these goals. Push yourself to put in the extra hour of studying. Snag the spot in the professional development seminar that just opened up – you never know what you might gain.