I never expected to end my first year of university working from home, taking my course online. Despite feeling upset that I’d miss socialising and being with my friends due to the sudden online transition of our studies, I tried to stay optimistic.
I wanted to make the best of a bad situation and have always been aware of the importance of experience – especially in my sector, graphic design. I began looking for a virtual internship and was lucky to be offered a short placement with the Edge Foundation. Edge taking me on as an intern really helped me from an educational and mental point of view as not only was I honing my design skills, I was also able to apply my knowledge into the real world, working on live briefs set by the Edge team.
When starting my virtual internship, I was given a clear agenda of what my placement would involve. My first meeting was with Dexter Hutchings, the Marketing and Digital Communications Executive, who gave me a warm welcome to the team over our Zoom call and talked me through the brief, making me feel confident about the tasks at hand. I was set four different projects that were to last me the two weeks and I got started on them straight away.
It was an odd situation working virtually and only being able to communicate online, but I learned to adapt. I sent my ideas, concepts and final designs to Dexter ensuring that he was a part of the design process and was happy with the end product. Conversing through email was no issue as I got fast responses and any advice or instructions on what to do next were clear and detailed. Working to a deadline meant that I had to work efficiently – being organised was key and I look forward to using this skill in the future, especially throughout my university course. I found the briefs enjoyable as I was able to be creative. For each project, I’d mock up three concept ideas which I sent to Dexter who would then discuss these with the wider team, in particular, Susan Higgins, Head of Communications. They would then give feedback, often with preferences and suggested amends, before I got to work on a final design. Overall, the feedback Dexter and Susan gave me was very positive and the experience has given me a massive boost in confidence which I hope will stay with me well into my second year at university.
As part of my virtual experience, I also joined an Edge team meeting, which was a little daunting at first as I had no idea what to expect having never been an intern before. However, the greeting I received from the whole Edge team on the zoom call was very reassuring and they spoke to me as a respected professional. I left the call feeling reassured and relieved!
The top piece of advice I would give to an intern and one that is certainly going to stick with me is - don’t ever underestimate yourself! It is often very easy to be afraid of doing something new and to be afraid of creating unique designs but bringing a new perspective, and fresh ideas is what brings value to employers and ultimately makes us stand out.