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How to Survive an Internship

The stereotype that students are lazy with bad time keeping is dated. Congratulations - if you are a current or recent student, you have taken part in changing perception. With rising tuition fees in a post-recession job market, students have been made to work increasingly hard to get noticed and bag a job. A student lifestyle survey carried out by The Complete University Guide in 2014 states that a lack of funds and the pressures of academic workloads are among the reasons behind students socialising less. Even though graduate jobs are on the rise, the survey points out that today's generation of students worry about gaining a high classification, as well as future career prospects. The need for students to get the most out of their degree is making the possibility of an internship increasingly important, but with money stretched and the majority of fashion internships being unpaid/partly paid, how are interns supposed to get by? Here is my guide to surviving an internship.

Coffee starts at home:

In the fashion industry, it is easy to buy into trends. What was once trendy to drink out of a branded take out cup is now all the fashion to drink from home. The thought of walking into your internship with a Starbucks in hand is tempting, but it is becoming increasingly acceptable to carry your homemade coffee in a stylish travel cup. Step into any high street store such as New Look or Primark and you will be graced with these quirky containers in a range of designs, or if you are a coffee brand queen Costa and Starbucks have their own versions.

Starbucks Belfast



Get a Job in Retail Fashion: 

Working in an internship you want to feel good and make a good impression, but how are you going to look smart without a full-time wage? Staff discount my friend, staff discount. Working in fashion retail is a great way to get further experience in the fashion industry and with the addition of a steady wage and perks of the job, you can save you a small fortune. Topshop, for example, do not just offer discount within the brand, staff receive 25% across the whole Arcadia group. Other brands such as New Look and Coast offer 50% staff discount. Although you could be working a five-day week in your internship, squeezing in some paid work is a must to get by. However, make sure you get at least one day off a week from both jobs or else you will get exhausted pretty quickly.

River Island Belfast

Use Public Transport:

Admittedly, I have fallen victim to sacrificing saving money on travel for an extra five minutes in bed. However, I have kicked the habit and opted for public transport. With train and bus ticket prices rising faster than inflation, there is no need to put yourself even more out of pocket by going private and in some cases, paying extortionate parking fees. Sometimes, it is optional to obtain a 'pay as you go' type travel card that can save you money such as Metro Smartlink and iLink cards available in Belfast. 



Know What You're Owed:

That's right, you are out in the big bad world of work now and it's time to know your finances. Everything from student loans to student discount in stores, it all adds up. Just remember that you are owed certain rights just as the paid employees are, for example, you can book time off for holidays, within reason. Talk to your employer and ask when would be the best time to do so, the last thing you want to do is leave your colleagues struggling. 


Intern Insights:

I talk to fashion interns Kerry Smyth and Jamie Baird to find out their tips on making the most of a fashion internship. I asked them if they had any advice on getting through the year. 

Jamie Baird - Graphic Design Intern

Jamie advises interns to be confident, embrace each day and have fun.
Immerse yourself in the experience, grab the challenges it brings by the horns and don't forget to enjoy yourself in the process!

Kerry Smyth - Fashion Intern 

Kerry believes that team spirit is the key to gaining a positive experience, it's all about the office morale!
“Team work makes the dream work

To view Jamie's illustration work visit - jamiebeard.co.uk.
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