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By Heather Lacerra

Like billions of people around the world, I am now living through the COVID-19 global pandemic. As a full-time college student and intern, I am getting acclimated to working remotely, an unexpected and needed adjustment.

On March 12, my classes switched to distance learning, which filled my days with Zoom lectures and virtual group work. On March 18, my part-time job shut its doors until further notice, adding me to the list of 6.6 million Americans currently filing for unemployment. I am fortunate to still be able to work from home as a public relations internship at The Pollack Group, an opportunity granted to me which many students working for other companies aren’t receiving. 

Along with the rest of my daily life, my internship experience has taken a turn for the unexpected. Working remotely has given me a sense of independence, more so than ever before. Some days feel like they are on repeat, and my sense of time can feel like an illusion without having a commute or an office to go to. Time management and staying focused has been arduous in a strange kind of way, because those were never problems that I had to contend with in the past. Throughout this time of adversity, I’ve learned from my superiors that teamwork and consistent communication is imperative in keeping a public relations agency afloat during a crisis, or any company for that matter. 

It’s a scary time as a college student, with uncertainty as to what lies ahead regarding the job market upon graduating. I’ve decided to take my fear of the future and turn it into something productive. Quarantine is a perfect time to network and research, along with focusing on my strengths and finding ways to improve my weaknesses. I encourage all of my peers to do the same, because although the world seems to be at a halt right now, I’ve lived in New York my whole life and am no stranger to its resilience. 

Companies will one day return to normal operations, and when the job market does reopen, I am sure that it will be super competitive. I am fortunate enough to have an internship experience that exposes me to, not only the prosperity of an agency, but an unfiltered approach to an unforeseen set of circumstances. When I interviewed back in December for my internship position, I explained that one of the key components of public relations that I really wanted to hone in on, was crisis management. How ironic. Amidst this global pandemic, my internship experience has taken on new dimensions, and has provided a wide platform to learn from, and for that I am grateful.