What has it been like to be an intern during a global pandemic?

man wears graduation cap and looks thoughfulMaking the teas and coffees, picking up everyone’s lunch and doing meaningless errands for your superiors. These are all impressions that the movies give you about being an intern. But, in my experience, it’s far from that.

Not even 12 months ago I finished my degree at Marjon and sadly, it’s now time to turn the corner and say goodbye to the place I’ve been most familiar with for the last four years.

On the brink of the pandemic last spring, I was working as a freelancer around my degree. The option for a permanent role was on the horizon and I was looking forward to the next steps in my career as a journalist. However, budget cuts meant I was cut.

Like many graduates at that time, I soon found out that the jobs were drying up left, right and centre. This was when my lecturer said to me, “have you thought about the marketing internship at Marjon?”. Two things I’d never even considered; a chance to continue learning on the job and working in marketing. I applied with no real conviction and wanted to see where it would take me. Looking back, I’m so thankful that I did.

An internship is an amazing way to gain experience in your industry, all while continuing to develop your skills for the working world. The internship at Marjon has offered me exactly that. But what is it like to be an intern during a global pandemic? Weird. That’s the short answer.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m typing this no longer as an employee of Marjon. I never even met some of my colleagues in person. However, I feel like I developed a good relationship with every single one of them. I mean that to the point that I happened to see a co-worker in a supermarket, masks on and socially distanced (of course), we spotted one and other right away, like we had known each other for years. It was like one of those bumping into your pal you haven’t seen for ages scenarios. You wouldn’t have even thought we had only ever met online.

In previous years, the internship has been heavily based on events coverage and being around the hive of activity that is the Marjon community. For the university to still offer this opportunity and put their trust in me to communicate with its audience as a Marketing Assistant was brilliant. From the peak of covid troubles, to celebrating a world champion student sports star, I’ve had the chance to cover it. I lost some important elements of the job due to the times we’re in, but I made a promise to myself to snatch at every opportunity put in front of me.

I would say 80% of things you have read on Marjon’s news or social media accounts in the last 12 months have come from me. To be trusted to share important information and stories to an audience of tens of thousands of people was excellent for my development.

I’m also grateful to the Marjon staff I’ve worked with. You’re not treated like an intern, but like a valued member of the team. When you email someone a query at 3pm on a Friday, nine times out of ten they get back to you. That says it all about what a great place Marjon is to both study and work.

Doing an internship is special in its own way. I’ve had a lot of responsibility. I’ve worked with external partners, written press releases about topics that have made regional news and developed transferable skills that will take me into my next role.

Resilience is a word that resonates strongly with me. I never worked full time in the office and people aren’t there to ask a quick question. This role has also taught me from an early stage in my career to be self-reliant, but also when you do see a colleague’s face virtually, that it means a lot. We’re all in the same boat and when you get that chance to see a face and chat to them, it’s always a worthwhile conversation.

I’ve been lucky enough to indulge in my passions. It’s crazy to think this opportunity was under my nose the whole time. So it got me thinking, what other graduate opportunities do Marjon offer to its students? So, here’s a list:

  • People Services Graduate Intern
  • Graduate Intern Systems Analyst
  • Student Recruitment & Outreach Graduate Intern
  • Sports Centre Duty Officer Graduate Intern
  • CIMT Project Coordinator Graduate Intern
  • Sustainability, Safety, Health, Environment & Quality Graduate
  • Graduate Marketing Assistant Intern

If you didn’t know, you definitely do now. If you’re like I was, not sure what opportunity lies around the corner, then your next gig might be a lot closer to home than you think.

I’m grateful to Marjon for giving me this job. It opened up new avenues for my career and so, here it is. I’m now a content producer for a sports marketing agency. Marketing, there it is again. I’m still a journo at heart, I know I always will be. But to spend the last year proving to employers that I have what it takes to work in this industry, well, I owe a debt of that to Marjon.

Apply for an internship, it’s not just making the teas and coffees. Trust me.

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