This year, many students embarked on virtual internship experiences due to the pandemic of Covid-19. As one of those students, this has added a new type of work environment to my experience. This summer I am working as an Application Developer Intern for ExxonMobil within the Upstream UX Division. My internship is running June 1 - August 21 and will be 100% virtual.
First week at ExxonMobil
A week before I started working, ExxonMobil had given us a PC and headphones so we could work properly and securely. My first week of being a software developer intern exceeded my expectations. The orientation was very organized despite that it was conducted through an online platform. Staff were so welcoming and had me wishing I could meet them in person. One of the first week activities was a day-long event to network with fellow interns from different universities and cities. We played pictionary and did roundtable introductions. My manager introduced me to the other team members and gave me a ton of resources that could help me throughout my internship. I spent the first week doing onboarding training and networking with employees and interns through virtual conference meetings. I felt a lot more comfortable working from home towards the end of the first week.
What it’s like to work from home
Having experienced both working in person and virtually, I absolutely prefer working in person because it’s more enjoyable. In the first few days working from home, I liked the flexibility in hours and the productivity aspects. I do my workout early in the morning, eat my breakfast, and start working fully energized and not worried about commute traffic. However, I started missing the networking aspect of being present at work and having a bunch of people around; all doing the same kind of work. I miss going on coffee or lunch breaks with colleagues. Working in person makes a lot of difference, and I can’t simulate that through conference calls. I can wait until we go back to our work offices.
Just like no one expected any of the events happening in 2020, we don’t know what could happen tommorow. Always be prepared, a big lesson I learned from 2020. Instead of having negative thoughts under quarantine and spending endless hours watching TV shows, I took this time as an opportunity to grow myself and focus on things I always wanted to do such as starting my jewelry brand. Before the pandemic, life was so distracting. We would spend hours commuting, minutes of walking between classes and napping. This changes when doing everything at home. Because I am more flexible with my time, I was able to launch my jewelry brand, Exisoar, and contribute to help fund small businesses owned by women and make a positive impact through this medium. Take it as an opportunity. Having this much time at home allowed me, not to only work, but to also enjoy my hobbies and learn about myself. Of course, spending more time with family too.
I will graduate in December 2020, and earn my bachelor's degree in computer science with a minor in mathematics. Until then, I will be looking for full-time opportunities in the field of computer science so that I continue growing my career. As a graduating senior, my advice to college students is to always be willing to learn and share knowledge with others. Allow people such as professors and managers to give you feedback and ask them to evaluate you. In addition, never underestimate the power of networking with people inside and outside of the university. Most of the time, making the right connections can accelerate your growth and change your life. For underclassmen who are planning to work in a corporate environment, take your time and don’t rush graduation. Try to gain industry experience while attending college either by getting internships or working on related side projects. By the time you graduate from college, you will have some experience that would make you more employable. Lastly, always do what you love and love what you do.