By India Pilgrim

Internships provide valuable, hands-on experience for students to be able get a glimpse of the career they wish to enter before graduating. However, COVID-19 has altered how many students are completing their internships.

When students participate in internships, they can gain experience and get their foot in the door for the potential careers and fields they wish to enter after graduation. Participating in an internship allows students to ensure what they are studying is what they want to do in life.

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With Reinhardt and other businesses functioning remotely, students learned the important lesson of adaptability through their internships this semester.

However, due to effects of COVID-19, many students have been forced to alter how they complete their internship class this semester. Many student internships became remote in some capacity to comply with the social distancing guidelines.

Business student Josh Teague '20 typically went into the office at Professional Benefits Consultants where he completed an internship. Now the work he normally completed in-person transitioned to video calls and emails.

“COVID-19 changed how I would work with everyone. Where I used to go into the office, we would instead email and video call each other to assign tasks and explain what needed to be done,” said Teague. “The tasks mostly stayed the same once we went to work from home, but because of the virus, I was unable to learn more about the business as a whole.”

Like others in the workplace, students completing internships are having to adjust and solve problems while working from home, complications they normally would not face if they could have continued to go into the office.

Cameron Dalton '20, Communication & Media Studies major with a concentration in Digital Storytelling, was completing an internship with the Funk Heritage Center to create promotional material. Since the transition, Dalton faces the challenge of finding alternative ways to create materials such as videos and flyers, since the resources he normally had access to are now limited.

“Due to COVID-19 I have had to email my supervisor to let him know the progress of my assignments,” said Dalton. “I was still able to receive assignments through email. My supervisor always responded as best as he could. He always let me know what was needed.”

Dalton is not the only student that has struggled with the transition in his internship. Nataleigh Long '20, digital media arts major and international relations minor, has had to get creative in finding new projects to complete degree requirements.

“Before the virus hit, I was originally planning on creating feature videos of professors and the work they’re doing. However, after the virus, I was no longer able to interview the professors or continue the podcast because I did not have access to the equipment,” said Long.

With a bit of creativity, Long was able to find a solution to alter her assignments.

“The solution we came up with includes me partnering with local United Methodist churches to help record weekly videos they can then share with the congregations. I am also working on a video project about how the virus has impacted our University family, which requires me to virtually interview students and faculty.”

Regardless of the circumstances, Reinhardt students and faculty are still working hard to make the best of the situation and do what they can to work together to create an environment that allows student interns to gain the experience they need for future career success.