By Alysse Harges, Intern at Indiana INTERNnet

Virtual internships have become an increasingly popular topic among students and employers. Internships are career building experiences that, in many cases, help bridge the gap from student to professional in the workforce.

I landed an awesome internship with Indiana INTERNnet this semester. In the pre- COVID-19 world, I was already a part-time virtual intern due to my status as a full time student at Ball State University.

This semester, I took on a 16 credit hour course load in addition to my internship. I also remained an active member of my fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and served as public relations chair on a student-led documentary.

Nonetheless, I was determined to get the most out of my virtual internship experience. As a result, I gained hands-on experience I’d been missing from the classroom.

Making the transition

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My work from home desk, made out of our TV stand.
  • Establish morning & night routines. I usually like to wake up, shower, and make myself some coffee to start my days. To end them, I tidy up my space to some calming sounds via YouTube.
  • Schedule, schedule, schedule. I had to revamp my schedule to fit my new work and school routines. I was so used to moving around all the time between classes, work, and the library — but things changed. After about a week of working at home, my supervisor contacted me about establishing a solid work schedule again. So, I created a schedule that worked around my now virtual classes and coursework. 
  • Track your progress. Keeping an activity log helps you track progress against multiple timelines at once. This boosts productivity.
  • Keep things interesting. Yes, we’re all stuck in the house right now — but there are still ways to switch things up a bit so you don’t get too bored. For me, melting different scents in my wax candle and playing different work music helps keep things interesting.

Getting the most out of your virtual internships

Woo hoo! You made it to the gold mine. It’s one thing to land a great opportunity, but it’s another thing to make the most of it. Here are three ways to make the most out of your virtual internship.

  • Start with your resume. Are there any holes you want to fill? Any skills you know will be useful in your future career? For example, I wanted to gain experience In strategic planning and social media management. So, I designed a social media campaign for Indiana INTERNnet’s Instagram account.
  • Ask questions. Your employer is there to help you learn because at one point, someone was there for them. The best way to learn is by asking. If you’re stumped or just want to know how else you can help, always connect with a member of your team.
  • Take care of yourself. Working entirely from home is different from the traditional in-person experience. Include self-care breaks in your schedule when needed. But most importantly, communicate with your team.

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About the contributor:

Alysse Harges is a senior at Ball State University. She is an environmentalist and creative who plans to graduate with her bachelor of science in public relations at the end of this semester. Alysse is passionate about creating her own skincare products and spending time with her dog, Nyla.

We know that many Hoosier students, families and educators are coping with school day closures and elearning for the next few weeks in response to COVID-19. Over the next month, our blog will be dedicated to college and career readiness activities that can be done from home. And, don’t forget to explore our classroom materials page for grade-specific college, career and cost activities.

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