I’m a college student in New York, and I had all my summer plans ready. Especially as a junior, I am trying to build my resume for after I graduate. I had been accepted for an internship at a local firm, and was so excited to gain more professional experience. However, by May, I received an email saying that they were no longer offering the position. They said it was because of social distancing, stating that I would not be allowed into the office.
Once I heard the news, I started looking all over the internet for other opportunities, but it was really hard to find one. Even a job at a diner or working as a delivery man was hard to find. Thankfully, the alumni association was very helpful. Some of the alumni at our school were offering positions at their companies and organizations. Of course, most of them were unpaid positions, but what really mattered to me was gaining some experience.
I started my internship in June, working for an alumni’s non-profit organization. It is very different from a normal office setting, to say the least. I’m at home in New Jersey, in my bedroom, wearing a dress shirt, while talking to my manager through my computer. My past experiences have been very intimidating, but conferencing through Zoom brings a much more relaxed atmosphere. I can see the background of my manager’s home office, and it makes my manager seem more human— like less of a boss.
My internship experience has been different compared to my friends. Since the community at my school is very diverse, many of my friends are in different countries all over the world, so they returned to their respective homes after the closing of the campus. I have a friend who returned to Spain, but is battling the time zone there, to be available for her internship in New York.
As I go into my senior year, and later, as I begin to pursue a career, I am growing increasingly worried about the availability in jobs. The impact that the pandemic has had on businesses will not be alleviated as soon as the coronavirus recedes. There will be long term implications of the virus. I fear that companies that often hire fresh graduates will decrease their number of accepted applicants, and the competition will become even more vigorous.
Written by: Naomi Katayama