Starting an Internship During Lockdown

by | Jul 24, 2020 | Company News

Klara Halikova

Intern at 2Excel Geo

 

Klara has a BSc in Ecological and Environmental Sciences from the University of Edinburgh. Klara’s role at 2Excel involves comparing which UK habitat classification systems are more suitable for remote sensing habitat mapping.

Klara’s areas of interest include a variety of ecological and environmental issues, particularly legacy pollution and habitat conservation.

 

At the beginning of June, I’ve had the great opportunity to start my SPIN internship with 2Excel Geo. Due to the pandemic, travelling was (and still is) not possible and therefore, my internship began in my bedroom, instead of the office. Working remotely comes with many challenges, but it also gives me a chance to experience something new and I feel very lucky for being able to work, amid the global pandemic.

One of the first challenges that I‘ve encountered so far, is not being able to physically meet the people I work with. Although we can still easily communicate online, and even see each other through video, it doesn’t have the same effect as meeting in person. I’ve however found that this type of interaction does also have its hidden advantages. Meeting and talking to people via online calls gives you a chance to learn things about them that you would have otherwise maybe never discovered. After all, it is rather different to interact with people in the office vs in the comfort of their own home where they, for example, have cute dogs or an adorable baby. It also works the other way around, people can learn interesting things about you. Furthermore, seeing as almost everyone is in the same boat (at home), they’ve been very understanding of the challenges “remoteness” brings, especially to a newcomer. One way in which our team tries to make up for the lack of being together is through a weekly game of skribbl (online drawing game). The best thing is that it’s not only a fun game to play but also a great way to get to know others a bit better. 

Figure 1

Our morning catch up on Teams

Figure 1

Our morning catch up on Teams

Working remotely has also brought some challenges to my home life. Convincing my family and friends that I do, in fact, have a job was a bit problematic at the beginning. I kept having to shut down (some very appealing) offers to go on various trips and hikes (even a spa visit!). No one seemed to understand that I’m working full time. On the other hand, seeing as my family is not in the UK, remote working allows me to stay at home and be with them. Even if only after working hours. Considering the world situation right now, I’m extremely grateful for this. 

The last and probably main challenge is self-discipline. Everyone knows that working from home can be very distracting. In an office, you have a desk, a computer, and strict working hours. At home, you have a dog, a fridge, a TV, and you have to do this and that and maybe take a break. Then suddenly, it’s 6 pm, and you have no idea where the time has gone. Fighting against these distractions, however, taught me discipline and how to focus on my tasks during working hours. Same goes for procrastination. Although I can’t say I’ve succeeded completely (at least not yet).  

Figure 2

Working from home is much more bearable when the sun is shining.

Figure 2

Working from home is much more bearable when the sun is shining.

Starting an internship remotely definitely presents a few challenges. It’s however, also a great way to gain new skills and presents you with different ways of learning and interacting. How one gets through these challenges is of course very depended on the team of people they get to work with. I was (and am) very lucky when it comes to my team.

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