Navigating a Remote Internship

As the world begins to transition to more remote working environments, it can be challenging to find a work-life balance. If you're a student new to the professional world, you're bound to have plenty of questions and very little experience.

Complicating matters, many jobs are relying on employees to meet the demands of the workplace in a virtual environment. There's sure to be uncertainty navigating a new job even under normal circumstances. Working that new job in a remote environment can make the transition even more awkward. It can still be a rewarding experience, though — one you can come away from more prepared for the working world.

Find Your Internship

Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, be strategic from the start of your UC Davis education. Visit the Internship and Career Center early and often.

Ask questions

Always try and ask questions when you’re confused. Working and learning online can be very challenging. Communication and direction can often get confusing when most of it is being done in a chat bubble or email. When that happens, it's ok to ask for clarity grey areas to ensure that you are performing as expected. Although navigating a new situation may be intimidating, most supervisors and mentors are more than willing to help you out. Asking questions can also help build a stronger relationship with your mentor and shows that you are taking the initiative. It never hurts to ask for help!

student works from home

Have a comfortable workstation

Working from home is tough and finding the motivation to get out of bed can be a challenge. That’s why it is super helpful to create a workspace at home that has a clear separation from your regular everyday living space. Creating a work environment at home can help put your mind in the right place for your job. Simply adding a work desk and a comfortable chair can be an effective way to put you in the right mindset. Customize your space by including encouraging words or vision boards of your goals to keep you going throughout your workday.

students jog arboretum uc davis

Find work-life balance

Your brain will thank you for maintaining a healthy work-life balance while also in school. Take time out of your day to step outside and go for a walk to clear your mind and de-stress. Setting some time away from your screens can help with screen fatigue and brain fog. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed since we’re stuck at home.

These breaks help you stay motivated and more productive during work hours. They're kind of like a reward system, too, giving you something to look forward to when you finish work. By creating these breaks, you promote healthy variety and stop the cycle of overworking.

students talk over video chat

Daily check-ins with your mentor

Be sure to check in with your mentor throughout the day. You can check in by sending a quick message on Slack with an update on the tasks you’ve accomplished or are currently working on. If you find yourself finishing an assignment soon, be sure to reach out to your mentor to let them know, so they can assign you more assignments.

Mentors like to see your drive and initiative rather than you sitting around doing nothing. It can be tempting to get sidetracked with your phone or other things going on around the house. It is important to be proactive to make a good first impression. This type of attitude shows that you are passionate and motivated to learn more about the internship.

uc davis student plays with cows at dairy barn

Socialize with your co-workers

Working in a remote environment can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be! Make an effort to socialize with your co-workers and build connections online with the people you’ve met during your internship. You can have a quick coffee hour where you can catch up or get to know each other on a video call.

Add them on LinkedIn and keep that relationship going even after you’ve completed the internship. It never hurts to start making connections early on. Getting to know some of the people around you can make your internship more fulfilling.

Remote work brings its own set of challenges, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Your internship is what you make of it and there is so much to learn

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