Remote Internship Tips For Success

At this time, I was supposed to be in (now) smokey Los Angeles, in an office, learning from production executives. I expected to be sitting at a desk, alongside my fellow interns, feeling shy and frankly terrified if anyone even looked at me. This is not the case, but I am still at a desk and I am doing an internship, it’s just at home. This is not ideal, but I am determined to make it work to the best of my ability.


Currently, I am a full-time student and I am interning for a production company 18 hours a week. I also work part-time. To give you a look at my schedule, I work for my internship two days a week from noon to 9 pm, and the other days of the week, I have classes at the same time. When I am not in my internship or in class, I teach ice skating or do homework. As you can see, it’s a pretty tight schedule, but there are several things I am doing to make it all work, as well as to excel at my internship while still keeping everything else going. In the end, if my schoolwork drops off, then my internship goes down as well.


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1. Communicate With Your Employers

This is major. Communication is key! If you have a question, ask it. If you don’t understand something, ask about it. If you need extra time, ask for it. Your employer would rather know what is going on with you than be kept in the dark. You are an intern, you are not supposed to know everything, and you are learning, so ask questions and learn from your mistakes. Someone once told me that it’s okay to make a mistake, but never make the same mistake twice. Evolve, and that starts with not being afraid to show that you need help.


2. Respect the Boundaries of Your Internship

I signed a contract when I accepted my position and that came with several things I could not do. If I did those things, my contract would be terminated and I would be fired. Take this seriously, you don’t want to get fired for something you should have already known and you already agreed to. 


Also, show professionalism. Email your bosses with courtesy, not like you’re emailing a friend. You want them to think of you fondly, and in the end, no matter how much they joke around with you, they are your boss and could open doors to your future. Keep this in mind.


3. Have a Good Work Space

So, you’re home now, that can mean you’re sitting who knows where. I’ve been in zoom classes where people are lying on the floor. What is important is that you find a place that works for you and if you are attending Zoom meetings, that place has an air of professionalism. The place can be a desk or a table, someplace that allows you to spread out and know where things are.


4. Treat It Like School

We’re all students, which means we go to class, we have responsibilities, homework, deadlines, we take it seriously. Make your internship one of your classes. I literally wrote it down in my schedule as a class and wrote down my tasks as homework assignments. There is no difference, especially since many people, including myself, are doing our internships for school credit. 


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5. Eliminate Distractions

You’ve been told this a million times in relation to probably everything, but I’m going to say it again. Eliminate your distractions! This is even more important now that you’re at home. If you’re in an office, you feel conscious of where you are, people are watching you, and you’re less likely to get lost on Buzzfeed for two hours. Pretend that someone is watching you, your work will thank you.


6. Don't Forget to Take Breaks

I’m one of those people who will get extremely absorbed in a task and do nothing else, like not even eat. Don’t be like me, set a timer if you have to, but take breaks. Go for a walk, have a snack, stretch, talk to your family for a bit, do something that is not work, so that when you look back at your work, you have fresh eyes and a clear head.


7. Get to Know the Fellow Interns

Since you’re not meeting people in person, it can be easy to feel like you're on your own. You’re not. My company has weekly zoom meetings where all of us interns get together and discuss what we read that week, but if yours does not do that, then reach out and see if you can start a group chat. The other interns are your future network, and they can also be friends, don’t let that pass you by.


8. Understand Time Differences

This may seem simple, but it’s a huge deal. Like gigantic. My internship is based in LA, which means it is on PST, and I live in New England, which is on EST. That is a three hour time difference, and instead of working 9 am- 6pm, I work noon- 9pm. Pay attention to this and plan accordingly. If you are in a different timezone, your hours might be different than what you are used to, and it is up to you to remember that and stay on top of it.


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9. Seek Out Opportunities

You’re here to get more experience before graduating from college. If there is an opportunity and you are available, then do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to learn. Be courteous and kind, show respect, but put yourself out there, because after all, this is your internship and your future.


10. Remember Positive Affirmations

There are going to be tough times where the workload seems too large and you don’t even have time to eat or shower and everything feels like it’s crashing around you. This is the time to remind yourself why you took on this challenge and where you are trying to go from here. It is worth it, trust me, this is the right path. Your internship chose you for a reason, you are capable.