It’s the unofficial summer of virtual internships — we’re celebrating the successes and sharing the struggles that come with it. Be on the lookout for a blog post about virtual internships every Friday!
Author Bio: I am a rising junior at Indiana University – Bloomington (Class of 2022). I am majoring in Finance and Accounting with minors in Economics, Mathematics, and Spanish. I am currently an Investment Analyst Intern at Valeo Financial Advisors in Indianapolis, where I conduct research to support our advisors on the investments portion of their comprehensive financial planning service for their clients.
Last Thursday, I got out of my car and headed up the stairs to the third floor to start my day with the obligatory waves, head nods, and good-mornings, just like every other day at the office. The only difference was that I hadn’t been to the office in nearly three months. I’d spent the last three months, like many people, becoming an involuntary expert at video calls and virtual meetings.
In this socially-distanced world, many of us college students are getting the opportunity to define the term “virtual intern.” We’re working with colleagues we’ve hardly met in person and companies we’ve never actually been to. I guess I shouldn’t say “we.” My story is a bit different.
I am an Investment Analyst Intern at Valeo Financial Advisors in Indianapolis. I started this position last summer after my freshman year at IU Bloomington and was lucky enough to be invited back for another round this summer. My prior experience with Valeo was invaluable to me when I started working this summer. I already knew a lot of the people I work with and most of the systems we use are the same as last summer. Of course, working as a virtual intern has thrown plenty of challenges my way.
The biggest difficulty I’ve come across is how easy it is to work from home. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to not have to commute to the office and work from the comfort of my couch. It’s just a little too easy at times. I’ve often been tempted to start work early and keep working late, just because it’s really not that difficult. I just hop out of bed, grab my laptop, sign in, and suddenly it’s almost 6pm. I’ve found it’s best to set limits and make sure you get enough time away from work. For me, I’m limited to forty hours/week and I have a flexible schedule, but I don’t work more than nine hours in any one day.
Challenges aside, most of us have become virtual interns, almost all unexpectedly. Regardless of the situation, we must make the best of it. Without any research or data whatsoever, I am fairly confident that we are part of the largest virtual intern class in the history of our country. Whatever that means to you, let’s take advantage and do what we can to make it a great summer.