Starting an Internship During COVID-19
Contributed by: Amanda Berry, Summer Intern
Starting an internship is never easy. Between the nervousness, anxiety, and excitement, it’s difficult to know what to expect when walking into your first day. However, starting an internship during a global pandemic delivers an entirely different kind of nerve-wracking experience.
The coronavirus spread like wildfire, thrusting all of us into unknown and unchartered territory. I waited to hear from the firm whether the internship opportunity would still be available to me for what felt like years because nothing was set in stone anymore. I had many friends and fellow students whose internships and jobs had been postponed or just canceled altogether. When I finally found out that I was still able to do my internship, I felt grateful knowing that many other students did not have the same opportunity.
An internship is a very normal thing in normal life, but this was not normal life anymore. I felt fortunate as my friends began to navigate around the specific bumps in their road. I also tried to stay humble, knowing that people around the world were losing their jobs, lives, and loved ones.
It is Possible to Have a Positive Internship Experience During a Pandemic
Arriving at the office on my first day was very unique. Everyone had masks on, and there was a coronavirus screening as I stepped in the front door. It became apparent that my safety and that of the entire LMR team comes first. Even though it was uncomfortable, I felt better because I was aware that it was uncomfortable for everybody. We were all trying to do our best, given the situation at hand.
I received a lot of support from all of my coworkers. They reassured me that asking for help is a good thing. Everyone was willing to answer my questions, no matter how simple or obvious the inquiries may have seemed—knowing that everyone has been struggling in some way due to coronavirus made starting this internship easier because I could relate to everyone somehow. We were all learning how to navigate it.
Three Factors That Play a Critical Role in Successful Internships
The things that helped me most when starting this internship were the safety measures, being monitored, and staying connected. As mentioned earlier, safety comes first. There is limited personnel in the office at all times, but there are safe one-on-one interactions with team members at all levels.
To keep regular communication with one another and those working outside the office, morning zoom meetings are held weekly. With the safety measures in place, I still have the opportunity to work with clients remotely and on-site. Being able to work with clients has given me more valuable experience in the field.
Most importantly, I have been able to gain new skills and enhance previous ones, such as:
- Use of virtual tools and programs
Overall, the consistent safety measures and ongoing support helped me transition into the internship much smoother than I could’ve hoped for during these unprecedented times.