So the internship program is over. You’ve finished all of your projects, said goodbye to your colleagues, and read through the “thank you” card from your supervisor. You’re completely finished, right?

VIP 2020 Group photo.

Not quite! As part of the wrap up of every internship program, the Experiential Education team provides students a chance to reflect on their time. Reflection is a key component of the learning cycle and provides a space where you can synthesize what you gained over the semester and intentionally integrate what you’ve learned into your future goals.

This year’s reflection session was held via Zoom. The location may have been virtual, but the takeaways were very real!

Students in each program spent time with the program coordinator and employer relations partner to share insights, craft resume bullets, and articulate their skills and competencies gained throughout the semester in small groups.

And before you ask, yes, we’ve curated a list of the best takeaways for you below!

What Students Took Away from their Spring Internship Program Experience

WHY IT’S ESSENTIAL TO BE ABLE TO PIVOT

The Startup Internship Program interns discovered the value of agility and flexibility during their semester program, which challenged them to shift focus, change project plans, and transition completely to remote work. 

Students reported the overwhelming support received from their startup supervisors and experienced first-hand how the startup community can come together to overcome adversity.  

THERE ARE ALWAYS OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS

The Columbia Arts Experience interns shared that even though the shift to virtual work was mostly, pretty smooth they missed face-to-face interactions.

They have hopes to reschedule coffee chats with their supervisors and colleagues when it is safe to do so and to stay connected once they’re back on campus.

In the meantime, they’re committed to “not taking for granted the connections that we [made] even if [it was] for a short time. 

The MANY BENEFITS OF GOAL-SETTING (AND VIRTUAL WORK)

The interns in the Virtual Internship Program remarked how “being on Zoom before it became the new norm” made for a smoother transition.

Since it was already virtual, the internship was the one steady aspect of their semester.

While the functional nature of their internship work remained the same, some interns shared how the COVID-19 impact caused their organizations to pivot in their approach to serving their clients or shift focus to themes current to the times.

During the internship, students found that CCE’s Goal-Setting exercise they did before starting their internships helped them to “articulate their goals in a way that was helpful in guiding intentionality and relationship building while on the job.”

Although internships varied across industries, all students gained common skills around time management, planning, organizing, and prioritizing work as well as improving their professional communications.

Through positive supervisor relationships and productive internship experiences, some students will be continuing the work through the summer!  

There’s As MUCH TO LEARN FROM OBSTACLES AS FROM SUCCESS

The Kenneth Cole Community Action Program interns synthesized common themes in their organizations’ work and provided recommendations on areas of improvement.

The transition to virtual work proved to be too challenging for some organizations, resulting in the premature ending of some internships. Interns also made note of how COVID-19 has impacted the work of their organizations in regard to their ability to work directly with clients.

Even though it was cut short, students noted that being a part of organizations that are able to make an impact through civic engagement has clarified their ideas for future career endeavors.

CCE’S REFLECTION: WHAT WE LEARNED

Although it was a modified reflection experience compared to the in-person reflection sessions, participants shared that the virtual reflection sessions were a helpful space for them to articulate what they learned and learn from their peers’ internship experiences.

They also appreciated the time to work on the formulation of bullet points on their resume, so they could best capture the outcomes of their spring experiences. 

The unexpected transition to virtual work highlighted the importance of strong communication, clear understanding of work and goals, and  adaptability. Throughout it all,  students demonstrated agility, resiliency, and curiosity in their internships, skills that are invaluable in any situation but especially in times of change. 

Moving Forward, We Hope that You…

Share what you learned from your classes, internships, research, or job experiences with person (e.g., family member, peer, or mentor) to practice articulating your own key takeaways from your experience.

And remember, to connect with us if you ever need some help with your bullet points.