The consequences of the current pandemic are numerous. We are all affected in one way or another by the situation which has lasted for over a year. Many young people between 15 and 30 years old, the so-called “Covid-19 Generation”, were forced to adapt to a new reality. A majority of virtual classes, full-time remote working for interns, remote team projects and even online university competitions; the students quickly had to comply with new government regulations.
Adapting to a new reality
We are asked to conform, but also to adapt to a whole new reality. Adapt to several changes that disrupt our daily life, but above all, the next few years of our career, whether as a student or as a professional. Dreams of studying abroad put aside for later, career ambitions that have faded “because you think your diploma is worth nothing since it was obtained virtually” or quite simply, demotivated students who drop out because the virtual does not suit them. Having started my professional life more seriously in early May 2020, with my first corporate internship, I felt the uncertainty of my classmates and a whole generation trying to enter the workforce.
Right before the pandemic, all was well in the best of all possible worlds. With the labor shortage in the market, student concern was low. Finding a job after graduating or an internship while studying was an easy task, especially in my field of study. Today, many students dread the moment when it’s time to look for a fulfilling job. Without having networked with professionals in their field or their teachers, their internship supervisors or even their classmates “because the cameras remain closed during meetings or classes” and just “because there is much less small talks ”, I understand the concern of my colleagues.
An internship at Rablab in Digital Marketing
During my internship at Rablab, I had the incredible luck (not an exaggeration) to have managers who understood my situation, but also those of several of my colleagues. These managers, who were wondering how to make everyone’s life a little more pleasant, but also, simpler. Who organized meetings every week to be aware of everyone’s reality. Who planned virtual workouts every week during office hours. Who organized the most uncommon happy hour so “that everyone is present”. And all of that, being just a tiny part of the effort that went into trying to create a somewhat nicer virtual atmosphere.
So, yes, our workplace or even our educational institution has an important role to play. Take, for example, the ‘Université de Sherbrooke’, where I am studying for a bachelor’s degree in business administration, which has tried, and still does, to restore face-to-face courses as much as possible. My friends and colleagues who are studying there at the moment explain to me that a majority of students will stay after school to talk with their teacher and colleagues. Having fewer obligations and seeing very little (or none) of their colleagues outside of class, they take the opportunity to talk and discuss (while respecting the sanitary measures and UdS regulations). Like what, slowly, we find ourselves, quite naturally, new ways of networking, or simply, to have a little more spontaneous discussions with those in our field of study.
3 tips that were useful in my internship research
I believe that we, as a student and an intern, have to make an effort to adapt. Roll up our sleeves and go find what will be the best for us in the next few years or just the time of a 4 month internship. With two internships behind me, I think I can say that I have been able to adapt to the business industry which is in full transformation. In the next few lines, I want to give you, who has just finished school or who is wondering where to find an opportunity for internship, 3 tips that have been useful in my research:
Do not be afraid of use your network
With the pandemic, networking and happy hours are no longer part of our daily lives. On the other hand, you surely have an uncle, the sister of your mother’s best friend or even the colleague of one of your brothers who works in a company that would suit your needs. What are you waiting for to drop them a phone call, send them an email or write them a little message on LinkedIn? You have nothing to lose on the contrary, by taking initiative, you will surprise them! Take your courage in both hands and go for it! I’m telling you, it works and I am living proof of it!
Cultivate your social networks
And, above all, your LinkedIn! With Covid-19, everyone knows, the virtual is super important. New technological methods of finding a job are increasingly popular. Lately I have seen fellow academics, finishing their study, creating videos on LinkedIn explaining who they are and what sets them apart from others. Quite an original way of presenting yourself, you might say, but a great way to promote yourself as well! By thinking outside the box and using social media wisely, you will be able to find jobs much easier than you might have imagined!
Continue to get involved in your field of study
Even if it’s virtual, the meetings with the members of your committee or your association are perhaps less “fun” than usual and there could be no happy hour involved, but get involved in your field anyway. You will see that even if it is virtual, you will be able to connect with professionals, but also classmates. Personally, getting involved in various committees has been an easy way to network with individuals that I would never have known. But getting involved also means learning about the job. Learn how to budget, work on social media and make partnerships. And that, even in times of pandemic, can be learned!
Finally, with all that is happening and with all the changes that will follow, we must try to rethink our way of doing things. Go for more. And trust ourselves! And then, who knows, maybe the Covid-19 Generation, with the upheavals it has experienced, will go even further!