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What’s It Like to Intern Remotely?

By Amanda Miner, Fall 2020 Marketing Intern

My experience while interning remotely has allowed me to have an internship like no one else has ever had. While I know I’ve missed opportunities and faced unique challenges interning remotely, I have also had opportunities that may not have presented themselves if I was working in the office.

I have found that communication is quicker and more effective while working remotely because everyone is more closely tied to their computer throughout the day. Prior to the shift to remote work meetings, lunch hours and commuting would not allow us to be continuously accessible. Now, with no commute or physical meetings, workers are available for instant communication.

While communication is certainly quicker in this type of workplace dynamic, quicker doesn’t always mean better. Communication has two parts: delivery and your body language. The delivery aspect is more efficient, but the body language is entirely missing when almost all communication happens through chat windows and text conversation. This makes collaboration more difficult and a group’s energy harder to read and understand. Collaboration and team-building conversations require more effort, which makes them less attractive for most people, including myself.

In addition, I have found that while I enjoy doing work on my own schedule, it makes procrastinating much easier. Without going to work physically, it’s easy to put off tasks that seem more challenging and have them become out of sight out and therefore out of mind.

However, with some additional attention to discipline, the flexibility of being able to schedule my remote work has been valuable. If I have a busy week of homework, I have the freedom to spend a couple hours on the weekend to get my week’s internship responsibilities completed. If I were at the office in person for a scheduled amount of hours a week, I would not have this level of flexibility.

The pandemic has made Zoom and video conferencing more accessible and mainstream. Before the pandemic, asking someone if they would be willing to meet for a Zoom call would be strange to ask. Now, scheduling a Zoom call is just as common as asking to get coffee with someone. This is such an amazing addition to our everyday toolkit because you can meet with people who you wouldn’t regularly be able to because of the physical limitations of distance.

During my internship, I have had the opportunity to have a one-on-one Zoom call with each LEAP department. I have been able to ask questions and gain valuable insight about different positions within LEAP and about the variety of jobs available in economic development, which has helped me immensely because I don’t know exactly what I want to do right out of college.

Despite its challenges, I am grateful to have an internship like no one else has ever had. I have learned how to more effectively communicate using remote communication methods, strengthened my discipline to complete the more challenging tasks first and have been able to have meaningful interactions with each LEAP department. I am excited to continue and finish my internship strong!