Organized for Success

Written by Rachel Sullivan – Program Advisor, Institute on Business and Government Affairs

As I’m sure many of you have already realized, your summer with TFAS is JAM-PACKED! Between your classes, internship responsibilities, and all of the exciting opportunities the city has to offer, it is important that you stay organized. These eight weeks are going to fly by, and you don’t want to miss any of it! Here are some ideas for you to organize yourself and fully take advantage of your time in our nation’s capital.

Take notes. Whether it’s for a guest lecture, class or something your supervisor tells you, always write it down! It is perhaps the best way to get down all of the information that you need to and then sort through what is important. Make it a point to bring a notebook with you wherever you go. You will not only appear prepared to others, but you will be helping yourself in the long run because you can refer back to what you wrote if you are confused about anything.

Bring multiple pens. From personal experience, at least one pen will always fail, so come prepared with a few.

Make a plan. Keep a daily planner. Whatever system works for you, use it! It could be writing on sticky notes or notecards, or setting reminders on your email and phone. Going along those same lines, don’t just live day-to-day, but have a commitment to reaching your long-term goals. Ask yourself, why am I here this summer? What do I want to get out of this experience?

Make lists. It is very likely that during your internship supervisor and he/she will start listing off all of the various projects that you need to complete, as well as deadlines and important details. Lists are a simple way to take down information to make sure you are actively completing each of those items.

*Pro-tip: One thing that I found particularly helpful during my internship was keeping an Excel sheet with a list of all of the projects I had been assigned, the due date, the status (incomplete/complete), the priority of the project (long-term/short-term) and any important details that would help me later on to remember what the project was all about. You would be surprised how quickly you forget all of those details, especially when you become busy with new projects throughout the summer. Plus, keeping a list like this is an excellent way to show your supervisor at the end of your internship all of the hard work you did. 

Read everything and listen. Read what your professors tell you to read. Listen to what they have to say and think critically about it. Ask your supervisors questions. All of these things will not only make your summer with TFAS a success but will help you as you go through life.

One of my favorite sayings is, “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up.” Sometimes the hardest part of your day is simply getting out of bed because you are tired or you forgot to iron your dress shirt for work. Other days, the metro might be delayed or you spilled coffee all over yourself. You will face challenges this summer, but what matters most is our attitude about it. You have been given an opportunity this summer that many students all around the world only dream about. Don’t waste it! Embrace each day as a growing experience and an adventure. Stay organized, have fun, do your best, and make yourself proud of all of your hard work.



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