Intern Philly and Arcadia University Student Victoria Whitney shared with us about her fall 2020 semester, what made her decide to pursue a virtual internship, and why it's possible to exceed your goals - even during a pandemic.
The year of 2020 has brought so many unexpected changes and cancellations: instead of being on campus with my friends I found myself moving back home and logging into class from the guest bedroom. But one thing didn’t change: I desperately needed to find an internship.
Being a senior psychology major at Arcadia University, I’m required to have an internship for the entirety of my senior year as part of my senior capstone project and, typically, an internship should be secured between the months of April and July. These months were the beginning of the madness and panic so I was having no success getting anything close to a maybe, all I was hearing was “We could consider you for an internship position when the pandemic slows down” (spoiler alert: it’s 6 months later and COVID-19 still hasn’t “slowed down”). I was feeling very discouraged and worried that I wouldn’t be able to secure a meaningful internship for my senior year until I received an email about the Intern Philly program. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of participating in a virtual internship but knew it would be a great fit for me: a full time student living at home with my family.
Once I was accepted into this program I met with the Academic Director for Intern Philly, Dr. Mark Clark, to discuss my interests and what my ideal internship placement would look like. From that point on, I could tell Dr. Clark was working hard to find a placement that works best for me. The first placement option I was presented with turned out to be perfect for me: interning with the guidance counselor at a high school called The U School in Northeast Philadelphia.
I’ve been working virtually at The U School since late August and I have loved every minute of it. I’ve been able to virtually work with students both in one-on-one and group setting, assist the school’s guidance counselor in teaching the Post-Secondary Options course for the senior class, and so much more. This internship is such a great fit for me and I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to intern here because I likely would not have found this position on my own.
In the course that accompanies this program, we started off by making personal goals and with the help of the Intern Philly team, I have been able to keep up with and exceed those goals. I also learned and was able to practice important skills like critique which will be incredibly important throughout the process of writing my thesis. We were also able to hear from some speakers with experience working in Philadelphia and receive advice from them as we prepare ourselves for the world of career possibilities ahead of us.
I would absolutely recommend the Intern Philly program for anyone interested in being a part of a meaningful internship experience that goes beyond filing paperwork, making copies, and going on coffee runs for the office- all from the comfort of your home.