October 24, 2020

Internship Canceled Because of COVID-19?: How the “New Normal” Presents New Opportunities

posted on: Friday October 16, 2020

At Career Expos in the past, PC students were able to interact directly with potential employers.
The Expo has moved to a virtual format as a result of the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Providence.edu.

by Katherine Belbusti ’22

Opinion Staff

It seems as though the list of effects from the COVID-19 pandemic keeps growing, including the loss of summer internships for college students. Beginning their freshman year, Providence College students are taught, “Don’t wait! Slavin 108!” and because of this, many students complete all necessary steps to ensure that they will have an internship for at least two summers of their college career, if not more. 

Little compares to the joy felt when hard work pays off and an application is accepted. Back in March when decisions were sent out, some students felt a temporary reprieve from the chaotic mess of the initial COVID-19 outbreak with the good news that their job applications had been approved for the summer of 2020. 

Unfortunately, in the months approaching June, the rescinding of offers from internship programs impacted many PC students, as it did for many college students. Even those lucky few whose internships were not canceled but were instead made virtual did not get the full, hands-on experience envisioned when they originally applied. 

Panic set in for many students, with many lamenting, “No job, no experience, how will any employer find me a desirable candidate?” According to Laura Pellecchia in PC’s Center for Career Education & Professional Studies, employers will be more understanding when reviewing college graduates’ applications. 

Those graduating in 2021, 2022, or 2023 were the hardest hit for loss of internships, but Pellecchia believes that as long as they spent their summers productively, they will not be at a disadvantage: “Explain to employers that even though you were not able to participate in an internship, these are the things that I did. The Career Center took the loss of internships into consideration and stepped in this summer to offer LinkedIn learning services, Excel Certification, and even resume building.” 

If you had a virtual internship and feel that you did not get the full experience you had wanted, you may have learned more than you think. Pellecchia believes that those students will not be at a disadvantage, as virtual internships still may have given students exposure to fields they are interested in. 

Additionally, the pandemic may change the way people work moving forward, as companies increase remote work opportunities. Any experience is a good experience. Pellecchia goes further to say that the “new normal” environment should be used as an advantage. 

Most students do not have the same kind of extracurricular commitments that they had before COVID-19, allowing them more time to work on professional skills and resume building. The term “new normal” is being used more and more recently, but it is something that everyone must accept, even looking forward to next summer’s internship plans. 

Many large companies are still planning to work remotely until at least summer 2021, and the junior class especially should be prepared for more virtual internships. Additionally, many part-time internships are being offered during the fall and winter, which may be the perfect fit for someone who feels as though they are behind after having an internship canceled this past summer. 

These new opportunities provide students with the ability to not only get more professional experience, but also to gain experience from a more diverse group of companies in different cities, even countries, that would not have been possible if done in person. Students are no longer bound by location for their internship possibilities. While the pandemic took away some opportunities, it has also opened doors to many more. 

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