OPINION: Get internships during COVID-19

Interning is important, builds skills; COVID-19 has made it difficult for students to find places to intern

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COURTESY OF PIXABAY

Internships are an important part of getting a career, and COVID-19 shouldn’t stop you from getting one.

GRACE LAPIERRE, Evergreen columnist

I was fortunate enough to get a summer internship lined up during the pandemic in an office that adapted to the circumstances and allowed telework.

Now, as the pandemic continues, there is some advice for students who are currently seeking internships.

Sarah Whitley, sociology advisor, wrote in an email that many organizations are still offering internships. Students should look for organizations that match their interests and reach out regarding opportunities.

Whitley wrote her students often find opportunities in human and social service agencies, schools, health care facilities, counseling services, museums, libraries, law firm, and community organizations.

For students who are concerned about finding internships, Whitley wrote she recommends resources such as Handshake and the Academic Success and Career Center to find opportunities to work. She also suggested SkillsMatch, LinkedIn Learning and Skill Success Learning to help students develop skills that support their career goals.

Students may find themselves unable to go out to the physical locations and decide to reach out via email and phone instead. Whitley wrote she thinks there may be more challenges in locating an internship during the COVID-19, but plenty of opportunities remain for students.

Kathryn Jackson, an academic coordinator advising computer science students, wrote in an email she does not think it is more difficult for students to find internships during the pandemic. For Jackson’s students, who may intern with Boeing, Microsoft and Facebook, it may be easier to find an internship due to telework potential.

Jackson wrote she suggests students seeking internships begin looking early and be proactive — looking internationally is something students should consider as well. Professionalism is also important.

“Emails should have a greeting and a salutation at the end,” Jackson wrote.

For those worried about the impact of the pandemic, Jackson wrote that looking at states with fewer coronavirus restrictions could be a good option.

“Do not live in fear, exercise your resourcefulness, make use of difficult circumstances,” Jackson wrote. “They can make great stories for an interview.”

Both advisers said they believe the pandemic has increased telework opportunities. While I know some people struggle with the online learning and work environment, I enjoyed my telework experience. I would happily continue to pursue positions working remotely in the future.

My advice for students looking for internships is to check USA Jobs for opportunities within the government sector. The government has countless opportunities for students with a variety of academic focuses. Once you have worked within the government, it can be easier to access more positions.

Opportunities are still available. Even though I sometimes feel as if time is no longer moving because I never leave my apartment, it is important to continue building skills and seeking internship experience.

I know my advisers were a great help when I had questions about internship credit. If not for meeting with advisers, I never would have known that internships can count for a range of credits. If you can only fit one credit into a semester without going over 18 credits, you can have the internship be worth one credit. If not, it can count for more.

Advisers offer great advice and can help guide students to a wide variety of resources. For those who need assistance finding internships, scheduling an advising appointment may yield great results.