Virtual Internships: Lessons Learned

It’s the unofficial summer of virtual internships — we’ve been celebrating the successes and sharing the struggles that come with it. This post concludes our summer blog series about virtual internships.


For many of us, the next month will include finishing virtual/hybrid internships and beginning classes in a virtual/hybrid setting. As we make this transition, it will be helpful for us to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned this summer and consider how they could transfer to our classes this fall. Here are a few that come to my mind:

Adaptability is everything

If you had told me (or probably anyone on the planet) a year ago what life would be like this summer, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have doubted that I’d be able to transition to such a different lifestyle in such a short time. But here we are now, and I’ve recognized a resilience in both myself and others that wasn’t there before. We’ve learned how to adapt, and I believe that will help us transition to this unique school year ahead of us.

Routine is a must

I’m thankful that my internship supervisor had me set a weekly work schedule this summer, because it helped me develop a boundary between work and home – even though I’m working from home. As I prepare to take several classes online this fall, I think it will be helpful to set similar time boundaries for myself during the semester. It could be easy to procrastinate watching recorded lectures until the night before the exam, but I think it will be worth the self-discipline to stick to a routine.

Expectations ≠ Reality

I never expected to work as a fully virtual intern this summer, nor did I expect my senior year to be so nontraditional. Like many of you, I’m disappointed about how different life is right now than I thought it would be. But I’m learning to let go of some expectations in exchange for our current reality, and I think that will make it easier to accept whatever comes this semester.

Working from home isn’t the worst

This summer has taught me some perks of working from home, like having a comfortable dress code, short commute, and mobile office. I plan to enjoy those perks this fall, too, and I think that remembering the good things will help me keep a positive attitude through the semester.

Meaningful connections are still possible

I haven’t met any of the Indiana INTERNnet team in person, and I’ll probably never meet some of my classmates and professors this fall, either. But I’ve learned from my teammates that it is possible to get to know virtual strangers – well, virtually! I’ve been making mental notes about things they’ve done to create culture and make me feel included this summer, and I hope to follow their example with my classes in the fall.

What lessons have you learned this summer? Let us know in the comments!


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