Internships are one of the most important aspects of your college career because they prepare you for what the real world will be like in your field. There are many different types of internships that you can have depending on the semester you choose to take one.
If you are lucky enough to get one during the school year, either in the spring or fall semester, you most likely are doing an online internship that allows you to continue to go to school while interning during the semester.
Online internships are just as much hard work as hands-on internships because you have to make sure you balance your schoolwork, part-time job— if you have one— and your internship. Valley has some do’s and don’ts when it comes to doing an online internship during the school year to help you make it a perfect experience.
Set Specific Start and End Times
Make sure that you and your employer set a schedule that works for you and the hours needed for the week. If the internship is 15 hours a week, spare about three to four hours a day for the internship. If you have classes during the morning, tell your employer you are available in the late afternoon.
If you have a day where you finish class at 6 pm, try to make the schedule work where you have that day off to focus on your school work.
Pro tip: if you are taking this internship for credit, try to work on the internship from Monday to Friday since it is technically a class on your schedule and you want the weekend off to focus on your school work.
If you are communicating with your employer through email only, it is easy to get sidetracked since you aren’t in a fast paced environment like you normally would be if the internship was in person. When your employer is emailing you your daily tasks, make sure you are keeping up with them and can present what you worked on when they ask at the end of your work day. You want to make sure that your work is the best it could be at all times in order to leave a great impression on your employer.
Don’t Be Scared to Ask for Help
If it is your first internship, you might get overwhelmed with new terms and new programs that your employer asks you to use. Don’t freak out – if you still can’t seem to work the program after going on Google, email your employer for help. After all, that is what they are there for! They will gladly clarify for you, or even help you step by step with the program. They are there to train you and help you improve. Communication is always key when it comes to employers.
Practice Makes Perfect
Whenever you are learning a new job, it will be hard at first, but over time you will get used to things. Play around with the programs that you don’t know how to use on your off days, write an idea down for a task that you want to complete for the next week, look at what other people in your field are working on and see what you can improve on. There is no limit to how much you can learn and grow from practicing.
Having an internship is a valuable experience, whether it is online or in person. If you don’t get an internship in your desired field, think twice before rejecting it because it could teach you a skill that you have yet to learn, and it can be a great addition to your resume for future positions.