This semester, I got the unique opportunity to intern with Her Campus, a national organization that puts out the online publication HerCampus.com, a publication geared towards college-aged women. They also help manage Her Campus chapters all across the United States and Canada at various universities. I’ve been involved in my school’s chapter since freshman year and now serve on the e-board, first as a social media editor and now as vice president this upcoming semester. This summer, I attended a Her Campus conference and met many other young women involved in both their school’s chapters as well as the national organization. Inspired by them, I decided to look into internships at the national organization. One problem, though. During the school year, I live in Washington, D.C. and in New York during the summer. Their office? Located in Boston.
However, that’s when I saw that they were offering internships as Chapter Advisors where one would help manage and guide several different chapters throughout the semester on their content, events, publicity, and social media presence. And the best part about this? This internship could be done remotely or entirely online.
As I already do this with VocaLady, I applied and got the internship. Even better, I managed to get credit through my university for the internship. This semester has been wonderfully successful with my internship. There are many pros of this type of internship, but equally, there are a lot of cons! Here they are:
1. You can set your own schedule
My duties ran roughly from Sunday to Wednesday. I was able to plan my time to work on these duties around my academics, Resident Assistant obligations, and extracurricular activities. I was even able to do my work in my pajamas, in my bed in the mornings before classes. Setting my own schedule made having an internship so much more accessible to have while still being able to balance my academics.
2. You have a bit more freedom to get creative with your internship
I can’t speak for all internships, but I know at some workplaces you might have a bit less freedom surrounded by your supervisors and/or other interns. The office and supervisor may have a certain style that may not be your learning style! Remotely, I was able to shape my internship to what I wanted it to be. I set up Skype calls with the leaders of the chapters I advised as well as set aside other times to speak with them. Furthermore, I was able to customize the feedback emails I sent them as well as any other duties I performed outside of what I was expected—such as helping chapters plan events.
3. Any experience is good experience!
Any internship experience is great experience! Regardless of where you intern, having an internship is really great experience and can be extremely beneficial to your future career path. If you’re a Communications major, you may have to get used to doing work on the spot, outside of the office, on your phone or laptop. Working remotely helped me get acclimated to working that way as well as doing something on the minute. It was good experience and outside of a typical internship experience.
4. It’s great for the more independent worker
If you’re someone who likes to work independently more than this can totally be for you! You can adapt your style of working to your internship a lot easier as it’s less likely you’ll be required to work on a team with others.
1. The lack of an office environment
Working in an office environment is a really important experience to have. You become acclimated to how others work—and how you can work with them. You also come to know how offices can differ—is it acceptable to leave your desk for lunch? Who should you talk to? You’ll get a lot of hands-on world experience in a traditional office which is lacking in a remote internship.
2. Lack of guidance and a relationship with your supervisor and other interns.
I was fortunate in that all of the interns at HC were in a Facebook group where we were free to ask questions. Furthermore, we were guided by senior interns as well as our supervisor. Nonetheless, you lack the face-to-face relationship you can make with your supervisor which is not only important to making the internship successful, but can also help with recommendations and connections in the future! Furthermore, it’s harder to keep connected with those you worked with in the future.
3. It may be easier to slip up and harder to go above and beyond.
As you don’t necessarily have set hours or times that you’re in the office, it’s easier to put your duties on the backburner to the last minute. You may even forget to do things! Furthermore, in a traditional office setting, it’s easier to pick up extra tasks to impress your co-workers and supervisor with and show your willingness to do work. Remotely, you’re far more limited to the tasks assigned to you directly.
4. Your school may not recognize it for credit
I was fortunate that my school did, but depending on your school’s policies about internship credit, this type of internship may not be recognized by your school. As most internships are unpaid, I highly advise you to at least get school credit so it’s more worthwhile!
Next semester, I’ll be back in a traditional office, interning for the Human Rights Campaign as an editorial and digital intern. Although I enjoyed my internship this semester, I’m excited to move on and see what my next internship has in store for me!