Building Relationships in Your Remote Internship
Between online classes, constant Zoom fatigue, and cabin fever, being a student these days is already challenging. Now, add on an internship — a right of passage for so many undergrads.
At home, there’s no ping pong tables, office dogs, or chalkboard walls. But with all those extra perks stripped away, you’re free to realize what truly matters — the people.
Connecting Without In-Person Interaction
It can be daunting to start an internship knowing you probably won’t meet anyone in person. But that’s no reason to write off making meaningful connections with the people you work with.
We’re living in the most absurd times we’ll ever endure, so it’s important to recognize that everyone’s facing different challenges in their daily lives. With that in mind, remember to be a human first.
In pre-COVID times, chances are that non-work-related conversations would be quite common. Whether that’s from lunch breaks, chats at desks, or being with each other at company events. Without those moments, it’s important to continue having those conversations and building up relationships as if you really were in-person.
When you hop on a Zoom meeting, there’s no need to speed through greetings and get to business. These are perfect opportunities to get to know the people you’re spending your time with. And keep in mind, this shouldn’t be for the sake of “building your network” to only benefit your professional development- It’s really just to create strong relationships, become friends, and make the most out of your internship. Don’t we all want that?
At Arcane, all of this couldn’t have been any easier. From the get-go, it was easy to see that Arcane’s culture is unique for the sole reason that it’s built on meaningful connections. If it weren’t for my supervisors and everyone else I crossed paths with, who were all so invested in getting to know me, I know I’d have an entirely different experience. Arcane made my remote internship feel like it really was in-person.
Working From Home as a Student
It can be really tough to balance an internship on-top of a school schedule. And we all know it’s a lot harder to maintain focus when your workspace is also your classroom, bedroom, and gym. But there are some pros.
For example, no need to wake up extra early to hop on the bus because the commute now is from your bed to desk. I was extra thankful for this on dark, snowy January mornings. But I have to say, when I get bored of my view I find myself daydreaming about a 18 min commute on the bus. Something I’d never thought I’d say.
- Reach out. Get to know your supervisors more than a “What do you want me to do today?” basis, and set up some 1:1s to connect with people you wouldn’t chat to otherwise.
- Get a computer stand. Your neck will thank you.
- Ask all the questions. Seriously. If something confusing came up in a meeting or your supervisor said something that sounds like a foreign language, just ask.
- Get comfortable, but not too comfortable. Beware of the squishy couch or favourite resting spot. It’s possible to stay focussed, but personally, once I hit the couch I either start typing “n – e – t – f -l – i- ” or reach for a blanket.
- Self-reflect. Whether it’s to your supervisor, journaling, or in a call to mom. At a place like Arcane, you try out so many different things, which makes it very important to take time and think about what you liked and didn’t.
- Wear comfy pants. Embrace the WFM Mullet; Business on the top, casual on the bottom. Why not, right? As far as anyone knows, I’m just a floating head and torso.
If there’s anything going for WFH, it’s that you can get to know the heartbeat of a place without actually being there. Meeting over Zoom strips any organization or program to its bones and makes you depend on what you have left, which is your relationships with each other.
It says a lot about a place when, despite these very strange circumstances, I still had an unforgettable time. Arcane is a community unlike any I’ve ever experienced, and I’m incredibly grateful I got to work here. Even if we were in-person, this isn’t a “Hey, can you do a coffee run?” kind of internship — like, at all.
The day I finally meet some Arcanites out of Zoom squares will be odd. It’s hard to imagine my supervisors with legs, and while I’m sure they have them, this goes to show you how Zoom can really mess with you. All this to say, the work and the place do matter, but what makes or breaks any internship experience is the people, which is something Arcane aced.