While a virtual internship may seem intimidating, here are 5 tips that will ensure your success in a DME Internship!

When I accepted my spot in the DME Interns’ writing department, I worried about what a virtual internship would look like. Would it mean constant emails from a faceless manager? Would I never get to know my coworkers? Would I be asked to go on coffee runs virtually? Luckily, the DME internship program is none of these things; it’s engaging, team-building work, and I have never been asked to get anyone coffee. 

This year, many of us have had more experience than ever communicating virtually, with online classes and Zoom meetings, but a virtual internship might still seem daunting.  Here are five tips that will ensure a productive, fun experience with the DME team:

  1. Get organized!
    In a virtual internship, your computer is your workstation. The DME team uses the app Slack for all communication and the app Trello for projects and collaboration. I keep both pinned on my browser so that they are easy to access. I also keep a list of the projects that I am working on and record as I complete each stage. This helps me to never lose track of what I need to complete each week. Having a system to stay organized will make your virtual internship experience run smoothly!
  2. Set a schedule!
    There’s no set in-office hours in a DME virtual internships, rather work is completed week to week on our own time. But,  all DME interns are expected to complete 10 hours of work per week. By setting a schedule and working 1-3 hours each day, I never feel overwhelmed or stressed when the end of the week rolls around. Setting a schedule also allows me to plan ahead for days when I know I have a lot of classes or deadlines. I update my schedule each week to reflect what I want to get done and when I plan to do it! 
  3. Get engaged!
    One of the best parts of my internship experience so far has been connecting with my fellow interns. I wake up every morning to messages in the #general channel on Slack wishing everyone a good day, and there’s always fun conversations happening in the #random channel! I’ve also used Zoom to have both social and work-related calls with my peers. A virtual internship is a great opportunity to meet and network with people from different states and universities! Staying engaged helps me feel connected to the team. It’s also a mandatory part of the internship.
  4. Ask for help!
    It may be hard to remember while working virtually, but behind every screen is a person who would be more than happy to answer a question or help with a project! While physically we may be working by ourselves, we are a team. If you’re confused about something or need help completing a project, reach out! We’re all in this together.
  5. Log off!
    It’s essential to take care of your mental and physical health, and your personal life is just as important as your professional one. While it’s a good idea to stay connected and engaged with the internship, there are some times when getting unplugged takes priority. Logging out at night or taking a day off is a great way to check in with yourself and destress.

I hope that you found these tips for succeeding in a virtual internship helpful! The DME Internship is a great way to expand your skillset and do meaningful work! 

Writer: Rachel Hoak
Editor: Christine Myers