Insight on Remote Internships

Many college students seek out experience in their field of study beyond the confinements of the classroom. One way is through internship opportunites. Much like a job, the search can be long and grueling.

I began applying for internships my junior year of college. Even though I was already a full-time student with a part time job, classes were virtual and gave me more flexibility for internship positions. I applied for ten internships around the country, but hardly even received rejection letters. I was devastated. Discouraging thoughts constantly circled my head. Am I being too ambitious? Is my GPA not high enough? Are there even jobs in my field? It didn’t help that my parents constantly asked if I “had an internship yet”.

I felt as though I was never really considered as an applicant and found that a lot of my peers felt the same way. I now contribute this mostly to the fact that the pandemic was still underway. In April of last year, the Director of Research for National Association of College and Employers told CNBC that internal research showed that about 16% of employers reported revoking internship offers during the pandemic. The article includes other statistics that paint the picture of an upperclassmen’s worst nightmare.

When senior year came around, I had a newfound optimism as I entered the arena once again. Even though I had the same resume as the year before, I had a different sense of determination. I applied for eighteen different positions and received an invitation to interview for ten. I was ecstatic. In September, I interviewed with Future Institute and began working as the Assistant Communications intern the following month.

Something that may come as a surprise is that I live in South Carolina and have worked remotely. While a remote internship may not sound appealing to some, I was sort of thankful. Adding an internship to my schedule was more manageable when I could secretly wear sweatpants. I did however wonder if some aspects of a remote position would lessen the benefits of the internship. You may also be just as surprised when I tell you with complete honesty, it doesn’t. Here is why:

Even though I was 800 miles away and in a different time zone, I still felt like a part of the team. Weekly video meetings established a sense of inclusion and set the precedent for effective communication.

I could ask questions. Technology enabled me to get a response much like I would have if I were to be sitting in the office. I understood not only what I had to do, but why I was doing it.

I learned useful skills. I have strengthened skills that are essential for a communications professional in a field I was not yet exposed to. Creating material for a new organization expanded my understanding in a different way.

My boss doubles as a mentor. I had fantastic guidance from my superior. I was able to learn from their expertise and receive valuable feedback on my contributions. They also were a great resource to ask other career related questions.

I didn’t have busywork. All of my responsibilities were essential to the organizations communication.

Needless to say, I am very satisfied by my experience in a remote internship position. While my time left for interning comes to its end, I would do it all over again if I could. I highly encourage all students looking for internships consider remote roles to be equally as valuable as those not.

Read other pieces for career readiness on the blog here.