Internships during COVID-19

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Evy Brunelle ~ News Editor

     As pandemic restrictions continue, internships can be difficult to come by for students, who normally need one to graduate.

     Rachel Parent who  currently has an internship through a law firm in Richmond said, “Honestly it was very unique. My office did not allow for our clients to come in, and we all were mandated to wear masks either in our cubicles, office, or the hallways. We were unable to participate in team bonding activities either. Overall, it was not bad but very different than how it would have been had I not started during the pandemic.” 

     Parent got her internship through her interactions on social media connections. She said, “I think having connections helped, but staying pro-active in my role was what allowed me to keep my internship as well as move forward within my firm.” 

     Some advice she has for students looking for internships is, “do not be afraid to put yourself out there. The worst thing that your potential employer could say is no. I got my dream opportunity through Facebook mutual friends. If I had not posted my interest in a legal internship, I would have never gotten this opportunity.” 

     Andrew McCracken secured his internship through the university. He said, “I reached out and emailed a professor that I had a couple years earlier that I knew had a specialization in a field that I was interested in and asked if she needed an intern and she did.” 

    McCracken said, “Prior connection definitely helped but there was also a need for an intern in the field that I wanted to intern in on campus. So, even if you do not have a connection, offering a professor or a company with an intern opportunity for something that they need or do not know they need can help secure an internship.” 

     McCracken’s internship had some challenges during COVID-19, including “not being able to meet in person as frequently and feeling slightly disconnected. However, I realized my supervisor was more than willing to communicate frequently and meet socially distanced to help me on the projects I was working on. Overall, I still accomplished a great deal and learned a lot through my internship despite the distance.” 

   McCracken said that he hopes that students aren’t “hesitant to reach out to professors or companies, even if they do not have advertised opportunities. They may have some that are not advertised or may create an opportunity for you that they did not know they needed. Contrary to popular belief there are actually more internship opportunities available to more people because many are being switched to virtual.  You never know unless you ask.” 

     Haley Hodge said that  when it comes to what internship a student should, “Look for something you can get a lot out of and get experience in several different positions.”

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