Being an Intern during a pandemic…

Author: Nechia Khuzwayo, Intern, FleishmanHillard, Social & Innovation 

Many think that internships are about fetching coffee and picking up effortless work that falls to the side. Amidst the pandemic, it may be fewer coffee runs, but the truth is being an intern, even the support-kind, is as taxing as a full-time job. And wanting to develop it into something bigger, is part of this strive.

Though ways of working have changed, the benefits and expectations of being an intern has not. You will gain experience, while you build relationships with your bosses, colleagues, customers and clients. You will have opportunities to explore your options, being able to learn from different people as much as you can. And you will be able to do this while working from home. Here’s how:

  1. Take this experience as a virtual internship

You are still gaining experience while working from home. It’s now a remote professional setting and the only difference is that you’re not physically present at an office location.

  1. Focus on your communication

Make the most of the learning experiences and communicate with your team as much as possible. Be present online and don’t be afraid to speak up. Always think about how you can contribute to the team.

  1. Don’t Overthink things

In most cases you may find yourself overthinking your given tasks. There are many lost in translation moments between team members, but what’s great is that your internship is meant to be a learning experience and you are expected to ask and clarify. Rather than being critical of any hiccups that arise as you adjust to your new working norm, you can always send a follow-up message to clarify your statements or ask questions if you’re confused about what is being asked of you, it’s as easy as that.

  1. Give it a try

Before you think, ‘wow I don’t know what I have to do’, give it a try.  What could be worse than failing before you get it right? It’s all about figuring out things and asking google sometimes, and you have a team who are always there to help you.

  1. Keep an eye on your mental health

It can be far too easy to let tasks pile up to the point of being overwhelmed. To avoid this, implement a time-management system that gives you breathing room to be productive without being overextended and when it’s time to disconnect from work do it, and take regular breaks whenever needed.

  1. Check-ins

Always check-in with your manager once a week. Have questions and topics ready to address – things that you’ve accumulated throughout the week. Even if you don’t need any clarification on something, make a list of the assignments you’re tackling to give a sort of progress update. This includes things you feel you could improve on.

  1. Don’t forget to have fun

Although it’ll be difficult to show people who you are while you’re working from home, you should try to let your personality shine through whenever possible. This can be as simple as throwing a joke into the mix in the workplace communications or just saying “Thank you” to coworkers that have really made a difference in your acclimation to the company.

In conclusion, you’re sure to have a bright future if you work hard, build positive relationships, and remain grateful for the internship opportunity. You got this!