Life as a Virtual Intern

Didn't we all think jobs would go back to in-person by now?

Didn’t we all think jobs would go back to in-person by now? Well, I did, but that is certainly not the case. Yes, there comes both pros and cons to being in a virtual bubble, some even prefer the virtual world vs. the in-person world. As an outgoing, very conversational person, the virtual world has been very tough for me.

I have been given the great opportunity to intern at Brandshare, which is a Marketing Agency headquartered in New York City with a second office in Berwyn, PA. I have been working for the Berwyn office as a Client Success Intern since January 2021. During the duration of the internship, I was based in both Philadelphia, PA & Hershey, PA. With that said, if this internship was in-person, I do not think I could have be able to accept the position. Even the Berwyn office is about 40 minutes from Temple’s campus. The company had been working remotely since March 2020 prior to on-boarding me. With that said, the staff was used to this virtual world by now, when on the other hand, I was not. I did not let this challenge get into the way of my new internship. Luckily through the help of the team, I was exposed to new and exciting projects, while learning new skills along the way. This distracted me from the fact that the face-to-face interactions were absent.

Though I was enjoying my work and learning bits and pieces through trainings and calls, I still struggled mentally a lot with the fact that I was working remotely 15 hours a week. I felt out of place, considering this was already the “new norm” for the rest of the company. I was the only one not used to working remotely. Everyone was adjusted and had their workflows and schedules down. I, on the other hand, did not. It felt odd only talking to people at work in an occasional meeting or so. I was only able to meet my fellow team members in brief conversions via Zoom. This just did not feel like an actual work environment. As much as this social interactions were lacking because of this virtual bubble I was working in, I was still thoroughly enjoying my position as well as getting to know my co-workers along the way.

As I said before, my internship has been a great experience for me. I always felt supported and assisted by the team, which I feel is a must when being an intern. I have not only learned so much about the industry, but have learned so much about myself as well. I cannot wait to continue the connections and relationships I have made at Brandshare. If you also find yourself working a remote job or internship, here are some of my key takeaways:

Set Daily & Weekly Goals

This has been so beneficial to me in terms of keeping track of work I have done and work I still have to do. It allows me to stay on track and focussed through out the day. Rather then just doing assignments to do them, this is a more proactive way to work and typically allows me get a greater deal of work done. Without goals, it is easy to become unmotivated to work, especially in a remote setting.

Take Initiative!

I feel this can be pretty scary, but I promise it’s ok! It is so important to show your engagement with your internship, by asking questions, offering to work on a project, showing interest in a topic. Not only will your boss most likely be impressed, but they will be delighted that you are taking control in the situation. Going along with this idea, ask questions! If something is not making sense, or if something is really catching your eye, take the extra minute and ask a question. This could be a door to new projects, opportunities, or connections.

Get Uncomfortable!

This goes hand-in-hand with my prior takeaway. There is nothing wrong with stepping outside of your comfort zone, whether that means asking for help, or asking for new projects to work on. As much as you are helping as an intern, it is their job to help you. With that, you may need to put yourself in an uncomfortable position from time to time. That is ok and normal! Your internship should be a learning experience you enjoy, so it is important to do everything you can in your power to make the most out of it.

Hopefully these tips help you with all your current and future endeavors. Good luck to all with the remainder of your internships!

3 Comments

  1. Layne,

    I also worked remote at my internship this semester, and I definitely understand where you’re coming from in terms of feeling out of place. There was definitely a period of adjustment for me as well, and it felt more difficult to ask questions – it felt a lot more annoying when I’d send multiple emails as opposed to being able to go up to a person and ask all your questions face to face. It was also difficult to adjust because the other employees had been with my company since before the pandemic, and I was the only one who had never met anyone in person, so there was a disconnect there for sure.

    On the other hand, I do think that there is going to be a shift towards virtual positions in the future, especially in the advertising industry. Like you had mentioned, while the circumstances were unfortunate due to COVID, had it not been for COVID you would not have been able to take the position to begin with. I think I wouldn’t mind a remote or hybrid position once I’m out of college – it was definitely a plus to be remote while still in school, because I could do the assignments given to me just like any of my class assignments, and didn’t have to worry about meetings or hours for the internship clashing with my class hours.

    I actually screenshotted your tips and takeaways (I hope that’s alright). You made a lot of great points about stepping outside of your comfort zone – it feels more intimidating to do so when you don’t have a full grasp on peoples’ personalities and only see them through a screen. I am definitely going to take some of the advice you gave and put it to use when talking to the employees that I am collaborating with. Thank you for all of your helpful input on remote interning!

  2. Hey Layne,
    I really enjoyed reading about your experience with BrandShare. I did a full-time remote internship over the summer, and I would have loved to have had your tips while I was navigating that internship. I appreciate your honesty about how the internship was always the easiest for you because you were not use to being remote. Personally, when I did a remote internship this summer, I learned that I never want to work remote in general. The best thing about internships are they give us the chance to see what environments or tasks we like or don’t like. I wish you the best as you explore new opportunities or advance in your current ones.

  3. Hi Layne!

    I relate to your writing about the struggles of interning remotely. In such a new process, having to do it all from a laptop in your bedroom does not make the transition any easier. It definitely was difficult for me to stay focused sitting in one spot. Your point about setting weekly goals was a great tip- that is something that helped me stay motivated throughout the semester. Additionally, taking a walk or a little break was also very helpful in making me feel not as stuck. It’s important to take care of yourself, even though it can be difficult to take time out of a busy schedule. Doing this can make us feel more refreshed and be more productive as a result.

    I’m glad to hear you adapted and were able to navigate it more smoothly this semester!

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