Here are some ways to survive your first remote internship and get the most out of it.
One of the most important things when first starting your remote internship is to have an organized setup or virtual workspace. Since you may not have a physical desk or office anymore, setting up a workspace on your laptop and phone is a necessity for remote internships. Before you begin your internship, make sure that you have followed all onboarding instructions, downloaded any required software or apps and turned-on notifications to stay engaged.
Staying on top of your emails and messages is critical to not only network with your fellow interns but also to keep up with what is going on. Check your email and messages daily, as it only takes a few minutes. Make sure you try to download apps or platforms on your phone that can keep you connected even when you’re away from your laptop or home. Being engaged while away will not only keep you on top of your internship but will give a good impression to your fellow interns by keeping you connected at all working times.
Remember, if this is your first internship or even remote internship, it is okay to be confused as to what is going on in the beginning. It may take a few weeks to get the hang of things, especially when learning to use new software or applications. This is when one should not be afraid to reach out to fellow interns and ask questions. Doing so will not only help ease your stress and get your problem solved faster but can also be a way to personally connect with those you will be working with. Watch tutorial videos on how to use any platforms your internship may require; sometimes this can count towards your hours as well!
When doing a remote internship, it’s easy to get buried in your work and forget to remain connected to other interns online. This can be through chat messages, discussion boards, Zoom calls and more. You may find yourself grinding out work alone until you hit that hour count mark to be done for the week. However, if you want to get the most out of your internship, it is best to learn from and reach out to the network of people your internship offers. These connections could one day provide career opportunities for you or further your knowledge in the work you’re passionate about. Most of the time, you’re interning alongside others in your same work field. Therefore, being able to relate to those working on the same projects or research as you can be immensely beneficial both short and long term. By knowing your fellow interns, you will not only feel more comfortable in your workspace but also have built a more fun, engaging environment that makes you excited to return to.
One of the biggest problems individuals run into when starting their remote internships is managing their time wisely, especially when studying at school or having other work to do at the same time. However, a significant aspect of interning remotely is that you can usually work on your schedule. Creating this schedule can be difficult though, as the balancing act of interning with work or study is never easy. One tip in making an effective schedule is to start by making to-do lists. For example, if you’re a university student and intern, make a to-do list for your university classes and one for your internship. If you have no time for that internship to-do list, try breaking down your working time into smaller pieces. Instead of interning three long hours on Tuesday, try working in thirty-minute increments every day. The time will add up faster than you think. Additionally, don’t ever be afraid to reach out to supervisors or fellow interns on your workload pressure. If you need a week to focus on midterms or finals for your university, ask if you can work fewer hours or take the week off. More than likely, other interns are in your same position and can offer support.
Interning remotely can be a new and challenging adjustment for anyone. Organizing your virtual workspace, communicating openly and consistently with all your fellow interns and supervisors daily as well as balancing your schedule are all ways to successfully beat this challenge. Reminding yourself that it may take time to learn the ways of your virtual internship platforms and not being afraid to ask questions for clarification will further improve your experience. Remote internships are new for everybody, so do not feel alone in the process. Interning from home can provide you with connections all over the world and opportunities from far away, all from your laptop screen. Take advantage of this experience and make sure you get the most out of it.
Writer: Madison Eberhardt
Editor: Alexander Reza, Julia Pack
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley