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4 min read

Remote Internship: How to Succeed in a New Reality

The world as we knew it changed almost overnight – the way we socialize, communicate, and even work have all been upended. Despite the differences in how and where we work, our company has continued its rapid growth. This past summer, we on-boarded our first batch of remote co-op students. Our summer marketing intern, Arianne Frigillana, shares her experience in navigating her internship at ThinkData virtually.

Hi! I'm Arianne. This past summer, I joined the SMS Team (Sales, Marketing, and Success) at ThinkData Works as a marketing co-op student. Ready for the plot twist? I did it all from the comfort of my childhood bedroom!

I knew I was in for quite a unique experience and one that would be different from previous cohorts in more ways than one. I thought my morning routine would look like: catch the 501 streetcar to Queen and Bathurst, grab a coffee at Farenheit Cafe on the way to the office, and take a seat in the boardroom with an iced americano in hand.

Instead, my morning routine actually looked like: log onto Slack, join my daily video conference call on Google Hangouts, and walk ten steps to the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee. Although, the convenience was definitely a plus, I was worried in the beginning that it would be difficult. Can I collaborate successfully on projects online? How do I foster relationships over a laptop screen? Am I able to stay engaged while working alone?

Image from iOS (79)My first experience trying Cops Donuts – a rite of passage for any ThinkData employee. 

At the end of my term, I would answer all these questions with a resounding “Heck yes!” It’s been quite an incredible journey filled with lots of learning and even more laughter. Here’s a few things I picked up along the way of my remote internship. 

Onboarding and getting to know my team 

When I was first introduced to the team, I was beyond intimidated to say the very least. During our morning scrum meetings, I would hear about the very important and incredible work my colleagues were doing. It would take me only two days into my internship to realize how insanely intelligent, innovative, and passionate the people here are. At 19 years old, I hardly considered myself an adult, nor at all capable of achieving anything close to what they have (even though I know they'd give me a hard time for putting myself down). In my mind, I wouldn’t have anything meaningful to contribute that they haven’t already seen, heard, or figured out themselves.

But I would soon grow to learn that this was far from the truth. Of course, everyone is astonishingly skillful in their respective fields. But you have to remember – they’ve had years of experience and maybe a couple more degrees decorating their walls. They know you’re still a student but really value your input. Don't be shy to speak up and share your ideas. Many co-ops, including myself, have seen our ideas come to fruition. As long as you’re willing to learn, they’re more than willing to hear you out and share their wisdom (and trust me, there’s a lot of it to go around). 

The people here are patient, receptive to questions, and always make it clear that they’re only a Slack message away. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because they love helping each other succeed and will do anything to get you there. So, my advice to any co-op student is to learn and absorb as much as you can while you’re here! 

Getting the job done - departmental communications

Working from home isn’t easy – but it’s also not impossible. While you can’t walk over to someone’s desk and tap them for help, a quick ping or video call is always an option. I learnt during my experience that communication is at the forefront of everything that you’ll do so it's important to make sure you’re on top of it.

Life happens. You may have an appointment unexpectedly come up during work hours. While remote work does come with lots of flexibility, always communicate with your supervisor if you have to adjust your schedule. Keep them in the loop about your progress and let them know if you’re experiencing any issues. As insanely talented as everybody is, they can’t read minds just yet so communication is key! Advice to future interns: err on the side of over-communication, it’s especially important now. 

Have fun, even while working from home!

I was lucky enough to work with a group of people that likes to start off the day with a little bit of laughter. Quick shout out to the entire SMS team for their witty one-liners and amazing sense of humour! Although, I was lucky enough to be on a team that was easy to socialize with virtually, this isn't always the case, so you might have to get a little bit creative while #WFM!

Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 6.09.05 PM

One of the many virtual trivia nights hosted by the ThinkData team. 

Here are some tips to make the most fun out of your term: Ask the other interns for a virtual coffee chat. All the online interactions might be awkward at first, but you’ll get through it. Join the infamous monthly trivia nights or hop on the regular virtual yoga sessions. Grab a socially-distanced lunch with your co-workers if you’re in the office. This is your internship. What you put in is what you get out, so make sure you’re making the most of it, and don't be afraid to have a little fun while you're at it!

That's a wrap, folks

Our weekly Friday meetings span multiple cities and three different time zones. But somehow, the people here find ways to work together and serve out the best possible tools that allow businesses to get the most value out data. And spoiler alert: they do a pretty killer job at it, too!

Remote work has only shown how strong the ThinkData team is. They’ve achieved unimaginable growth over the past months all from the comfort of their homes with their children running around, apartments turned into offices and probably more than a few pairs of sweatpants.

Like I said, it definitely has been an experience quite different from the interns before me. But I think I have them beat, because it was hard to imagine my time being better.

Do you want to help ThinkData Works revolutionize how people use data? Want to have fun with some of the coolest nerds around? Check our current career openings and see where you fit in (or simply reach out to us via LinkedIn or Instagram, we’d love to hear from you!) 

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