Tackling Virtual Summer Internships


Everyone knows that this summer is like no other. Because of this crazy pandemic, many summer plans have been altered, postponed, or even canceled. This includes summer internships.

If you still have an internship, chances are the experience will now be entirely virtual. To some this may not be a big deal, but virtual internships bring on new learning curves and struggles that students in the past never had to worry about. For example, students need to learn how to efficiently work from home on top of the new skills and responsibilities that come with any internship. For any Boilermaker facing a virtual internship this summer, here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned from my personal experience.

Set up an at-home office

This is my biggest piece of advice! Being stuck in your house can make it hard to separate your work from your home life. When should I work? When should my workday officially end? One way I have attacked this problem is by setting up an office for my internship.

Every time I “go to work” I take my laptop to the desk set up into a room and close the door behind me. My mindset is while I am in this room, at this desk, I am at work. This means being 100% focused on tasks that need to be done and not being on social media, taking naps, or always running out of the room every ten minutes for another snack. Since I am someone who loves structure and consistency, I have also set up exact times for when and how long I would work. Setting up a schedule and having a space dedicated to my internship has increased my productivity and focus.

Music can change everything

If you are an extrovert like me, being in a quiet room for over an hour can drive you absolutely crazy. And in my personal experience, crazy enough to start checking the time every three minutes, which results in making the day move at a snail’s pace. Working alone may seem like the end of the world but I promise you can do it! I have learned that having music playing while working can kill the silence and make the workday go by faster. Your music doesn’t have to be loud or a specific genre. Find whatever makes you happy and doesn’t take away from your productivity!

Get to know your coworkers and communicate!

Even if you never meet your boss or coworkers face-to-face, there are still ways to get to know them. Zoom, WebEx, Facetime, and Microsoft teams are just a few tools that can be used to meet and work with other interns or coworkers. Getting to know your staff serves multiple purposes.

First, you don’t have to miss out on meeting new friends and networking opportunities just because you are stuck at home. Take advantage of this opportunity to come out of your internship with more than learning new skills. Secondly, knowing your staff and fellow interns can be beneficial when you are working in teams. Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses can make your team run more efficiently and effectively.

Be nice to yourself

Not everyone is wired in the same way. Some people are thriving because of this quarantine and others are just dying to get out of the house. No matter how you view this time, please remember to be kind to yourself. Once in a while, treat yourself to takeout, a movie or a planned group facetime with your friends. Although at times it may seem like you are alone, remember that we are all going through this together.

And to those who don’t have summer plans or have lost their internship or job because of COVID-19, I encourage you to keep pushing. There are many online resources that can support you during this time, including the CCO. Follow @Purduecco on social media or set up a virtual appointment to gain knowledge and advice that can further strengthen your job search. I promise you that opportunities will open up. Purdue has shaped you into an educated, qualified professional that any company would be lucky to have. Please be safe and make the most out of your summer.

From one Boilermaker to another,

Good Luck

Jordan Ingraham

Are you a Purdue student or alumni that wants guidance with their professional development or job search? Well, you are in luck! The CCO is open all summer and ready to help you! Meet with our Career Consultants ONLINE by scheduling an appointment through BoilerConnect.

For a full list of the CCO's resources and services visit our website.

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