Students take on remote internships, weather difficult transition

July 19, 2020, 6:58 p.m.

In light of the recent pandemic, countless Stanford students have been experiencing a transition from in-person jobs and internships to that of a remote setting. The lack of physical interaction has caused significant changes in their workstyles. 

Akash Kumar ’21 recently began an internship as a Software Development Engineer at Amazon, where he develops technologies to help user experience.

“This new internship, while fulfilling a lot of the technical expectations that I need for a future work environment, often makes it difficult to socially interact with the other interns and employees at Amazon,” Kumar said.

Although the transition has been difficult, Kumar also mentioned that companies like Amazon have organized events specifically designed to unify employees and interns during this time.

“Amazon has weekly fun online parties, games and trivia to help promote interaction even when we can’t physically come together,” Kumar said.

The problems of remote internships are also consequential for students’ future career pathways, since they help them build relationships and connections, and get experience in the technical field. In some cases, companies give students job offers following a successful internship period.  

These same problems of social connectivity are apparent to students interning in the humanities as well. 

Emily Davis ’21, a current intern at a management consulting firm, has experienced a drastic difference from what she would expect from a “normal” setting, adding that “all of [the] project members’ meetings, travel, and presentations have been moved completely to conference-based applications, leading to a lot of microscopic issues within themselves.”

One of the issues cited by Davis is losing productivity: “Sometimes when you have so many people talking at once, it can be frustrating to keep stopping and starting again. This type of stuff just doesn’t happen in person.” 

The lack of communication that normally occurs in person has also led to fewer opportunities for students. Some companies are trying to cut costs during this time, often decreasing the amount of interns and employees available for hire. 

Despite these challenges, the Stanford Careers and Undergraduate Advising Office wrote that they have “full faith in the numerous opportunities and connections that Stanford University and nearby companies have to offer to the students here.”

Contact Arya Agrawal at dallas.arya ‘at’

Arya Agrawal is a high schooler writing as part of the The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.

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