K12 Internships: Balance School and Work Like A Pro

K12 Internships: Balance School and Work Like A Pro

They say that high school is the best time of your life – and for some, that’s definitely true!

High school is a great time to learn more about the world and about yourself. Whether it’s going on adventures, excelling academically, or planning for your future, there are a ton of things to discover. Recently, K12 internships have been added into the mix of popular high school activities… and with good reason. 😉

Why pursue K12 internships

Some would say, “why would you take an internship in high school?”

That could be a valid thought: after all, a lot of people think that high school is the ideal time for enjoying yourself and pursuing hobbies. So why ruin the fun by doing something so serious?

What those few people don’t realize is that high school isn’t just fun and games – and that internships aren’t purely made of hard work! In fact, 74% of high school students are worried about college applications. With the prospect of higher studies looming close by, the pressure to buff up credentials looms closer, as well.

Since K12 internships are an avenue for students to gain skills, work experience, and future connections, they’re a great way to improve your chances of getting into a good school or program. While not all institutions require internships of their applicants and students, having internship experience can boost your chances!

Taking up an internship at a young age can prove to screening committees that you aren’t just a person that’s capable of taking care of your academics, but are also someone who cares about learning professional skills, connecting with others, and staying well-rounded.

How to balance school and K12 internships

Here’s the thing: so how do you enjoy your time and get good credentials?

A lot of high school students worry about finding the balance between having fun and preparing for their future. Especially with the economy not doing so well (not just in the US, but around the world, really), it may feel like a lot of pressure to do everything right. It sure can feel like a lot rests on your shoulders at this point in your life!

Many people have also said that K12 internships can be intimidating or a lot to take care of. And this can be true, it really depends on where you find yourself working. It’s perfectly possible to continue with your other high school activities – like classes, clubs, and sports – while taking on an internship. You can even do one in the summer!

If you find yourself wondering how you can balance your time during K12 internships, check out these tips:

1. Schedule your priorities

Now, people usually say “prioritize your schedule” or something along those lines. But the trick to time management isn’t “put your tasks first and leave some time for yourself later” like most people think… it’s actually the exact opposite!

One of the best ways to avoid having your life become ruled by your K12 internship (or anything else, really) is to plot out your schedule and putting the important things first. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this something I can do later, or is this absolutely urgent?
  • Can I add it onto tomorrow’s to-do list?
  • In the immediate or distant future, will I regret missing this birthday / party / event?
  • Is this thing something that helps make me feel like myself?
  • When was the last time I did something nice for myself?

Remember: self-care isn’t an option, it should be a priority. And of course, your relationship with your family and friends are still important, even when you’re preparing for your future! Definitely don’t trade your mom’s birthday for an evening sitting in front of a spreadsheet, just for the sake of getting things done. Don’t stop seeing your friends just to stay late and do extra work. Sacrifices are necessary sometimes, but very few things are actually, truly urgent.

Be wise with your time to avoid burning yourself out.

2. Zoom in on your focus

Aside from having a clear, well-thought out schedule, you should also be intentional about your focus.

A lot of young interns and employees have the habit of procrastinating, or as some noticed, “phubbing!” Phubbing is the act of delaying your tasks by using your phone. And as we all know, it can be way too easy to find something else to do. Whether it’s scrolling through TikTok, watching Instagram stories, or browsing online shops, our phones make it way too easy to get distracted.

While taking up your K12 internships, it would be good to practice different productivity techniques. For some, turning on Do Not Disturb on their phones (or using other similar settings) is a good way to tune in to what they need to be doing. Others download timer apps that block them from using irrelevant apps during work hours. Some simply put their phone away, or use techniques like the Pomodoro technique to preserve their attention spans.

There are a ton of different methods that can help you hone your focus. A little bit of research and practice can help you find the right one for you. Depending on what your personality and attention span is like, finding the right technique can help you really get in the zone.

(Want to try doing something remote? Check out how you can prepare for your virtual internship!)

3. Ask for help

Perhaps the most important part of your K12 internship would be asking for help.

At your workplace, you’re sure to have a mentor or manager assigned to you. When it comes to work-related growth, you should always make sure to check in with them, as well as ask questions! Internships are an opportunity to learn – and the best way to do so is through practice and asking. You won’t be able to magically learn everything, so asking someone who knows will definitely help.

Additionally, you could also ask your school’s guidance counselors for career counseling. Them, along with your internship mentor, can help you set goals and track your progress. This is especially true if you’re applying for a specific college program and want certain skills before you get there!

Of course, asking for the support of your friends and your family will also help you manage everything much better than you would alone. Whether it’s sharing reflections, venting out frustrations, or just talking about your day, feeling the support of those around you can really help you feel much better about where you are and what you’re doing.


When you’re taking up a K12 internship, you can expect a little bit of pressure. But there are ways to handle it where you can make sure that you avoid the overwhelming parts – or even better, learn how to handle them! Managing your time, setting goals, and having a good support system can ensure that you have a fulfilling experience.

Don’t worry: you’re sure to learn more and make your college applications look even better in the process. You’ve got this!

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