By: Emily O’Brien
Hi guys! My name is Emily O’Brien, I’m a senior Media and Communications student at West Chester University and I am so excited to join the Lee & London team as a fall intern for the 2020 semester! As I’m sure many of you can relate, during quarantine I found myself lost and looking for anything to get my mind off of the craziness of the world. I wanted to be doing something productive with my life, learning something new, and growing into a better version of myself. However, with the restrictions that a global pandemic presents (as I’m sure we’re all aware of) I had no idea how to get there. Internship searches are always challenging, let alone virtual internship searches during a global crisis. This past summer I was feeling worn out and beaten down after spending hours looking for any internship opportunity I could find, yet still coming up empty handed. This is where Lee & London comes in.
In an effort to learn more about the public relations industry, I called up a good friend and past Lee & London intern, Avery. Our conversation was just supposed to be a casual discussion about what I could do to best prepare myself for a career in PR, when summer internships were few and far between and my PR study abroad program was cancelled due to COVID-19. Little did I know that our conversation would be instrumental in how I came to join the Lee & London team for Fall of 2020. After I had asked Avery about her career journey, she mentioned a particular internship that had taught her more about the public relations industry than anything else, that internship was at Lee & London. I was immediately drawn in. The prospect of an opportunity that great was enough to jolt me right into action and apply for the Lee & London Fall 2020 Internship position. I was determined, I wanted to chase after this opportunity and I had decided I would not let anything get in my way. Almost 3 months after my call with Avery, and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to be a member of the Lee & London team.
No matter the obstacles that a virtual format presents, I was, and still am, determined to make the absolute most out of the opportunity. Virtual interning is a challenge, but it is a challenge that is not going away any time soon. I want to focus this blog on how I am navigating the journey of a virtual internship, as someone who is across the country from their company’s headquarters, so that I can help other young interns like myself as virtual internships become a part of the “new normal” that we are living in.
“What’s it like being a virtual intern?” is a common question many have asked themselves during this unprecedented time. Although I’m still very much so figuring it out, I can confidently say that being a virtual intern is just as amazing of an experience as in-person. Is it the same experience? Absolutely not, but that speaks nothing of its value. The remote format offers additional challenges, that’s for sure. However, I like to think that these challenges offer one-of-a-kind learning experiences that I would not get to witness, were it an in-person format.
As a virtual intern, you must be able to adapt to the abnormal way of operations we are all currently trying to figure out. If you can learn one thing from virtual internships, let them teach you adaptability. Not only is adaptability an extremely valuable skill, but not everyone gets a golden opportunity to improve it, let a virtual internship be that opportunity to you. In this internship I am completely out of my comfort zone, yet I would not have it any other way. While this can be overwhelming, it is also extremely empowering when I successfully work through the discomfort and succeed at a task.
To all college students actively pursuing virtual internships: Don’t be scared of the virtual format, be excited for it. Yes, there are times that it will be uncomfortable and overwhelming, however discomfort is the key to growth. I’m looking forward to embracing the uncomfortable and using this blog to take you all along with me as I try to figure it all out!