When I started interning in May, I knew this summer would be different, but I still had hope for a return to normalcy by August. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my editorial internship with Cincinnati CityBeat became a remote position, as expected. While I was bummed I would not be meeting my supervisors in person [or have a chance to wear my cute #BusinessCasual outfits], I was optimistic that we would return to office life before the end of the summer.
Clearly, I was wrong.
For the past three months, I have been interning 10 hours a week for CityBeat, but all of my assignments have been completed from my home. While this is a setback, I recognize how lucky I am that my internship wasn’t cancelled completely, as many of my peers’ were. So, rather than be upset that this internship wasn’t exactly how I planned, I am taking time to be grateful for the lessons I was still able to learn. Here are three things that I learned while interning during a pandemic:
When you’re working from home, it is easy to become distracted. Whether it’s by the temptation of Netflix on your TV screen, the list of household chores that need to be done or simply the fact that you’re just not feeling it that day, distraction is inevitable.
Since I have been working from home throughout the duration of my internship, becoming distracted everyday simply has not been an option. In order to meet my deadlines, I’ve had to remain completely focused and find motivation within myself to get my work done.
Tip: Create an office space within your home [NOT your bed] so that you have a reason to get up and “commute” to your job. This will give a sense of separation between home life and work life.
Similarly, I have not had any supervisors down the hall to monitor my every move, so ~technically~ I could have gotten away with slacking on my hours. But, we all know how unethical that is, so I’ve forced myself to work my standard 10-3 shift every Monday and Wednesday.
This definitely got difficult on days where I wanted to be checking other things off my to-do list [like writing blog posts], but it was important to me that I stay committed to this internship, despite the unprecedented circumstances.
Tip: Create an hourly schedule for yourself and plan what you will accomplish during your work hours and what you will accomplish after. That way, you’ll hold yourself accountable to getting those other tasks completed and they won’t be looming over you all day.
How to Appreciate the Small Things
Working at a newspaper during a pandemic meant that we were never short on news stories. Whether it was a press release of a business closing/reopening or coverage of one of the many protests that have been taking place, most of my assignments were straightforward news stories.
This was definitely a change from my responsibilities at Cincinnati Magazine, which had me focusing more on longer culture pieces rather than short newsy pieces. But, this shift in responsibility also showed me how to appreciate when I was given the opportunity to write a more creative or “magazine-style” piece!
Tip: Embrace the assignments given to you at any job or internship, even if it isn’t your favorite thing to do. This will give you a broader experience, and will allow you to grow in your industry to be prepared for any potential job offers post-grad.