Covid Internship Survival Guide
Internship. An experience that stresses out students regardless of the context. It can be filled with promise, growth, and maybe even coffee running. Years of prepping and work experience jammed into our brains to get us ready. All of this preparation went into overdrive in 2020. The dreaded year now becomes our new normal, meaning a whole new set of tips and tricks on how to manage an internship. These are the must know for surviving an internship in a pandemic.
Steps to Success
If you’re reading this then you’re either in the process of finding an internship or you snagged one in the midst of the craziness we call 2020.
Step 1: Meet your team, and when I mean meet, I mean get lunch with them or have a virtual coffee date. It’s so critical, whether you’re in person or not that you have a relationship with your coworkers. These are the people who will support you and guide you throughout your internship.
Step 2: Address the elephant in the room, Covid-19. Let your coworkers know how comfortable you are and the boundaries you want to have established. Meaning, would you be comfortable taking your mask off if you were in a one-on-one meeting with your boss or if you’d prefer to do all your meetings over phone or video chat. It’s also important to figure out how the company is dealing with Covid as a whole. Is the whole office coming in for work every day or is there a set schedules for different positions? This information can help you get situated and comfortable within your new workspace.
Step 3: Set up a meeting with your boss/bosses and discuss their expectations of your role. In spite of it often stated during the interview process, it’s good to clarify what they want from you. Most importantly, this is your time to speak up and let them know what you want from the internship.
The idea of an internship was always daunting to me, and the thought of one during a global pandemic seemed inconceivable. The welcoming environment at NCW has allowed me to be vulnerable and express this fear. My team has been continuously supportive of me and provides me the guidance and leadership that I need to overcome this self-doubt. In result, throughout my internship I’ve admitted time and time again that I still have a lot to learn.
It’s okay to not have all the answers. Internships are meant to help you grow. Ask your supervisor if there’s a training program you could take, meetings you could sit in on, and discuss how they can help you learn.
Don’t be afraid to share your ideas. You were brought on for a reason and it’s important to share your thoughts and concepts with your team. A lot of times a simple note can spark inspiration within your team.
The pandemic has made many things difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beneficial experience. It will cause some road bumps, but if you’re resilient, nothing can stop you from learning.
The biggest hindrance the pandemic has had on my internship is the inability to be submerged in the culture at NCW. Consequently, the culture at NCW is so unique and special that even an intern who has barely scratched the surface knows it’s there. There is story after story of the fun social gatherings, holiday parties, and even internal company competitions. It saddens me that I had to miss out on all the fun, but it also fuels a drive to get involved in as many activities within NCW as possible. Even in the shadow of the pandemic, I was still able to write Valentine’s Day cards, participate in a virtual secret Santa, dress up for NCW halloween, and help plan and host an outdoor fall fest. All of these events are highlights of my internship.
The moral of the story is that the pandemic is obviously not going anywhere anytime soon and there will be long lasting effects. This shouldn’t defeat you. If you go into an internship strong–willed with a positive attitude, the possibilities are endless. You’ve got this.