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An internship can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. To some, internships can help you organize yourself in preparation for your debut in the working world. It allows you to meet interesting professionals to help propel your career forward. On the other hand, internships can also be a challenge—it can be hard living and working for long periods of time for free.

Here are some tips to help you stay on your feet.

1. Start planning your expenses early

If your program has an internship component, you'll know about it from the moment you step into your first year. This gives you plenty of time to work extra shifts to help you save. If your internship is in another city, you'll need to make additional savings to accommodate for rent, transit, food, and all other normal living expenses. With each paycheque, try setting aside a little amount of cash to help with this. As time passes, you'll see your savings grow!

2. Map out your route to work

For those interning outside of their hometowns, living in a new city can be a big adjustment. Before you start your internship, make sure you understand how the transit system works. Allot some time one weekend to go to the city of your internship and learn your way around. Plan alternate routes in the event of a delay along your main route, (if your internship is in a big city, this is inevitable).

3. Sleep!

Internships require lots of learning and focus. This means it's time to rid yourself of the all-nighter student mentality and become a more professional you. Ensure you rest well before each shift to show your employer you're ready and focused for the day ahead of you.

4. Build new friendships

It can get pretty lonely sometimes being in a foreign city. To help you combat homesickness, try making friends in the workplace. Join them on breaks and lunches to better get to know the people you'll be working with for the next couple of months. Getting to know them early will help you feel more at home. And if your office hosts community events, get involved.

Remember, personality is just as important as skill set. If all goes well and the company is hiring, these could be your future co-workers. Build relationships right from the get-go.

5. Get a little exercise 

Internships can be both fun and stressful. Exercise is a clinically proven stress reliever and can help you stay on your feet for the duration of your internship. Get into a routine; try jogging during your free time or create a mini-workout schedule. Doing a few push-ups and sit-ups here and there can also help you keep your head on straight while in the grind of your internship.

Photos: Ammentorp Photography, Bikeworldtravel, Ana Blazic, monkeybusinessimages, lzf/Thinkstock