“In the middle of every difficulty lies an opportunity”- Albert Einstein
In the summer internship placement season, I got offered an internship in one of the biggest consultancy firms present worldwide. I was happy and excited. I didn’t waste a minute before checking out the location of the offices. I hoped to be located in Bangalore. I started dreaming about all the meet-ups I would have and the people I will meet in the office. I had previously worked in Infosys and used to love those canteen debates I had with my colleagues. I was looking forward to them too.
It was around December that I got my location. Guess what? It was Bangalore. I contacted my cousins, friends, relatives residing there. I guess I even started separating the clothes I am going to take to Bangalore from those I am going to send back to home. By January, COVID was there in other parts of the world, but it still felt like a long shot for India.
Then came March. Internships of my friends in the college started getting deferred and canceled. By the end of March, I was hoping for a deferred but still a Bangalore joining. I started getting a few survey emails about my preferences and home location from the company. I was a bit relieved by the thought that they hadn’t ruled us out. By the 1st week of April, I was contacted for a work from home internship till things get normalized. That continued and we ended up having a two-month-long work from home (WFH) internship.
I will explain below the good and the bad parts of the experiences I had in these two months.
The good part:
In the office, I could otherwise get access to only a few people in leadership positions present in the same office as mine. Could I get a 1-2-hour one-to-one discussion time with the MDs and senior managers? No. Could I end up knowing so many cross-located senior executives, and made my mark? No. I could reach out to anyone at any time with just a mail. That is the leverage that the WFH internship gave me. The flexibility of reaching out to anyone removes the barrier of hierarchy and if they end up liking you, you are set for life. I could never have imagined otherwise having the kind of discussions I ended up having with these people. I tried to make the best out of the opportunity I had.
The bad part:
You do not have a canteen or a desk or a face time other than the virtual video calls. You do not get the good parts of having a peer group (Other than the knowledge share). You cannot sit with your friends you make during internship and gossip about others. Also, you cannot make alums pay for your coffee. Just kidding. I missed all of these and more. Probably in the coming years many, like us, will miss all of these. We might get used to this. We might not.
Would I choose an Internship from home over office internship? I would not. Sometimes certain situations are not in our hands. We should be adaptive and make the most of what we get. Though I did whatever I could in this situation, I would forever crave the experience of two months that I lost due to COVID.
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