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Five 1L internship survival tips from summering mom

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 @ 1:09 PM | By Oksana Romanov

Oksana Romanov %>
Oksana Romanov
Before law school and during the first semester of 1L, I used to refer to myself as a mature student. During the pandemic, this label has lost its relevance. We have all matured regardless of our chronological age.

When it came to the recruit, it was stressful and fruitless. However, I felt relieved when I secured an internship outside of that process. Moreover, being a studying and working mom during these unprecedented times has taken on a new meaning. I now refer to myself as a law student with kids.

So, I got my summer internship in early spring. Now what? How do I do this with kids doing online school and without being in the office every day? Below are my 1L summer internship survival tips.

Tip #1: Always choose great people to work with over great offices

People are the most important yet complex ingredient to your summer success. A good supervisor may become your life-long mentor and make your first internship experience unforgettable. If you can productively work remotely you would be able to negotiate to work from your home office more days a week even during past this pandemic. Furthermore, having great understanding colleagues will make your learning on the job easier and more enjoyable.

Tip #2: Rest up before you dive into work

Give yourself enough time to rest after the exams. Do not start working right away if you can help it. This tip may seem self-evident to most of the readers. There is a reason why Big Law firms build in a two-week break between the end of the exams and before they onboard their fresh talent.

If you created your internship position or received your job offer outside of the 1L recruit process, you might have a bit more flexibility to negotiate your start and end dates. When you get the question “When are you available,” resist the urge to respond with “I can get started rights away.” Give yourself at least two weeks to recover after the exams. It may take more than just a couple of days to centre yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually so that you are in a better headspace to focus on a nine-to-five job. Once you are on, you stay on. However, if you are not at liberty to set these parameters, stick to your commitment whether you signed a contract or gave your word.

Tip #3: Ask for help

Do not assume that you know everything. To do your absolute best on the job, you need other people and resources. By the same token, remember that you have value to offer. Do not let the imposter syndrome get the best of you. Trust yourself.

While an internship is a learning environment, it is, first and foremost, a job. Your supervisor, your colleagues and their clients count on you to produce quality work. Seek guidance and clarification for the tasks you are assigned. For example, check in with your peers and articling students. Correct what you can before your final draft gets to your supervisor. If you made a mistake, admit it, do not let it slide.

Tip #4: Enjoy your summer

Treat your internship as a unique and rewarding experience. Be proud of every little thing or milestone that you may achieve over the summer. Create memories by learning, working on a team or enjoying what you have achieved independently.

Tip #5: Wrap up your internship by mid-August

Ultimately, there are at least three reasons to finish your internship two weeks before law school starts. Firstly, you simply need to take a break. Secondly, you need time to prepare for the 2L recruit and the OCIs. Unless you are planning to return to the same firm or organization, you need some time to shift gears, do your research and attend firm tours. Lastly, if you are a summering mom like me, you would want to spend some quality time with your family. Your children are, hopefully, going back to school in person come September.

Oksana Romanov is a member of the inaugural class of Ryerson University, Faculty of Law. She is passionate about fostering inclusive communities, effecting social change and advocating for human rights of persons with disabilities in order to remove attitudinal and environmental barriers to their full participation is society.To learn more about the author, you can visit her LinkedIn profile.

Photo credit /  nadia_bormotova

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