The ‘now normal’, as people call it, is experienced by the fourth-year students of this current academic year. As of this writing, students are still undergoing their virtual internship under a work-from-home (WFH) setup while deployed in their chosen company.
Let me walk you through my experience on this “new kind” of internship as a fellow fourth-year business administration student.
Believe it or not—there is no such thing as “summer break” when you are a graduating student, especially from the business department. Based on the revised curriculum, it is mandatory for all of us in this course to begin our virtual internship as early as possible. It was due to the goal of the administration to lessen the number of working hours that each student needed to accomplish so that we could graduate on time.
HOW IT STARTED. On the first day of the semester, which started in May, we attended an online orientation and a webinar conducted by Ms. Carolina Intal, our practicum coordinator. The entire semester consisted of student-organized webinars designed to help us develop our event management skills. Of course, our efforts would not be in vain. Participating in webinars will help reduce our internship hours. In terms of grading criteria, everything would be based on the attendance and reflection essays from the webinars.
PRE-DEPLOYMENT PROCESS. The first thing we had to prepare was a list of the companies we would like to work with. The coordinator asked us to accomplish an application form that would give her an overview of the companies we preferred since they would still need to check on the companies before we work with them. Then, a by-batch pre-deployment interview was conducted with students who already submitted their preferred companies. After being interviewed, the practicum coordinator told us to wait for the deployment documents to be given to us such as the endorsement letter, reply form, and the internship training agreement form.
DEPLOYMENT. I sent my resume to my chosen company, and luckily, I was invited to two interviews which were done on two separate days. A week after, I was informed that I got accepted but needed to get permission first from Ms. Intal and submit the company requirements before the scheduled orientation the following week. So, I started my virtual internship in the last week of June. The next thing I had to do was to adapt swiftly to the current situation. I was relieved to start early, but I was concerned for the others who have not been deployed yet. Overall, the process was indeed a tedious one with a combination of unannounced webinars and company announcements, sudden revisions, several meetings, and complaints.
THE FIRST SEMESTER
CHALLENGES. The virtual internship will not be halted even though the summer term ended. The students, including myself, expected that after the grades have been finalized, we would just be focusing on the enrollment, but our practicum coordinator said that those who are deployed will be continuing what they already started. While we are working, the webinars and the reflection papers would still be part of the criteria for grading.
For those who are yet to be deployed, a series of by-batch interviews and company announcements were still ongoing. In my case, I am continuing what I am doing as an intern in my chosen company while having the goal to finish early, learning and understanding what working in a company feels like, even on a virtual setup. I also needed to prepare and focus on my academics and duties as a student since I am part of the graduating batch that still aims to end with flying colors.
REALIZATIONS. As a student and an intern, I am expecting that this current academic year and the months to come will teach me that sacrifices must be made on my part, as well as practicing time management, enhancing my organization skills, especially multitasking, and not compromising my holistic health. This experience will teach me how to balance both work and studies without compromising or sacrificing either aspect of my life.
Being a student facing the status quo brought by the pandemic, especially on the academic part, is already an impressive and well-respected feat, but simultaneously doing academics and having an internship deserves a standing ovation and thundering applause. This virtual internship which is a “now” for every graduating student will teach everyone that even though it is being conducted on a work-from-home setup, students will still gain insightful realizations and valuable experiences. Also, it will erase the notion that everything done virtually is like a piece of cake because, in reality, it is much harder for every student to partake in this as this is not like the traditional internship program that everyone is expecting. Furthermore, having a virtual internship seems more tedious than the traditional ones, but we take this as an obstacle to reach a greater milestone in life and future career.
Remember, this is the first-ever virtual internship for the graduating batch, and such a milestone is already a history-in-the-making.
LAYOUT BY: Cristine Joie Q. Bacud
PHOTO SOURCE(S): Zoom, SBA, Doroshin Oleg, Christina Morillo