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The Struggles of Finding an Internship During a Global Pandemic

As if life couldn’t be any more difficult for students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the word internship comes into play.

Finding an internship is hard enough, whether you are a college junior, senior, or maybe even in high school. Internships give you the opportunity to explore new industries, positions, and are an amazing opportunity to network and expand your professional circle. Usually, in-person job fairs, networking opportunities, and guest speakers in-class provide students the opportunity to talk to professionals in areas of interest and build a connection that will hopefully lead to an internship experience.

Now throw in the current pandemic, and these opportunities seem to come available less and less. Sure, you can join a zoom call for a virtual job fair or email a guest speaker that has joined your online class, but is the connection really the same? Does the face-to-face interaction really make all that much of a difference? That can depend on the person who is hiring and the person who is applying. Instead of being able to go in for an in-person interview when your employer can see how you present yourself, your attitude, and your overall personality, it can be harder to portray these characteristics over a screen.

However, there is a silver lining to a whole year of online classes and zoom calls. Students are way more used to online interactions and portraying themselves over a camera compared to last year, which gives a more even playing field in the virtual world. After taking classes, giving presentations, and even reading speeches to a full class over Zoom, students will be better prepared in internship interviews with these qualifications under their belt.

Internship programs running this summer are looking more hopeful of not being canceled compared to those from the previous summer. However, for those that will continue to commence, they will most likely be online with most students working from home. More students will be better equipped for handling a remote internship compared to last year, which will ultimately be a helpful advantage for the upcoming summer.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, even though it may be harder to get an internship for this year, it is important to know that you are not alone in this struggle. COVID-19 has affected college students so much in ways that we could have never imagined, so if this year you end up not getting your dream internship, or maybe one at all, that is okay! But also remember how far we have all come in these uncertain times and how looking back a year ago we would have never imagined how far we have come and that hopefully, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking closer than ever. 

 

Alicia is a Junior at Elon University majoring in Strategic Communications and minoring in Business Administration.
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