Like many people, most of my life was affected by the pandemic – including my summer internship at Boston Partners in Education. BPIE managed to move everything online for my summer there and everyone tried their best to make it as fun and educational as possible considering the circumstances. They were all welcoming and wanted us to feel comfortable. Virtual learning is definitely something that gets tiresome but while I was working from home I picked up a few new sets of skills. Here are a few of the things I learned about:
1. Analyzing People
Body language and anticipating when people are going to speak are a part of regular in-person conversations. It gives you a better understanding of the message coming across and helps keep a steady conversation. However, conversations in-person completely differ from online meetings. It’s more difficult to sense what someone is trying to get across. After six weeks of sitting in front of a screen, I can finally say I have a better understanding. I learned that facial expressions and tone of voice are valuable to virtual conversations.
2. Google Sheets
I never found Google Sheets interesting, so I had never really learned how to work with them. It seemed complicated and useless, but I found out Google Sheets are actually helpful in some cases. I learned about pivot tables and got to see how useful it can be when confronted with an overwhelming amount of data.
3. Tech Issues
Everyone is still adjusting to doing everything virtually. That means everyone is learning to deal with technology issues, and everyone has most likely learned something new about the tools technology has to offer. Not understanding how to work something on your device is fine. It’s okay to ask someone to help you. It’s better to ask for help than to just sit at your desk confused trying to Google it.
4. Zoom Fatigue is Real
Zoom fatigue is inevitable but there are solutions to ease the tenseness. My first two weeks at BPIE consisted of meetings every hour – the meetings generally consisted of workshops and getting to know everyone in the office. However, sitting at a table facing a screen for hours a day made me feel depleted of energy. I had to consistently remind myself to sit up straight and concentrate. The best way I could combat Zoom fatigue is a fixture of posture and taking a walk around my yard any chance I got. Stretching after a meeting helps loosen the tension on your shoulders.
5. Be Proud of Your Work
I never realize how much work I get done without people mentioning it. The other MLK Scholars (Sitnour and Kaylee) and I did a considerable amount of work. It felt odd for all three of us to be applauded and complimented on the work we’ve done. Being proud of the work I’ve done is something I’ve come to learn and will take with me for the future.
This summer experience at BPiE was definitely interesting and educational. Would I have preferred to do it in person? Yes, but I learned things that I wouldn’t have if it was in person. I enjoyed my virtual summer internship at BPIE and am thankful for everything I’ve come to learn.