When she learned in mid-March that she had come to an internship with a nonprofit education in Washington, Lydia Burns, a senior at the University of Louisville, had called her mother to celebrate. The whole world is separate, but here, finally, is good news.
“Mom, guess what?” he says. “Things are amazing!”
All lasted a week. While he was working on a paper next Tuesday, Ms. Burns an email from a nonprofit: The internship was canceled due to a coronavirus infection. She burst into tears.
“I feel like I have a very strong plan,” he said. “I know what I’m going to do – I’ve been working throughout college. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
For millions of college students, internships can be a steppingstone to full-time employment, a valuable source of income and even a graduation requirement.
But like many others, summer internships are pandemic, with a wide range of major companies, including tech firms such as Yelp and entertainment behemoths such as the Walt Disney Company, canceling programs and saving offers.
Students locked up for internships at the beginning of September are unemployed. Another prospect of experiencing an office setting in the first place is instead looking for work in fast-paced restaurants. Many low-income undergraduates, unhappy with student loans, are concerned that a jobless summer could put them at a disadvantage in future application cycles, making it even more difficult. it’s hard to find a full-time job after graduation.
Some companies continue to pay interns to work from home, sending corporate laptops in the mail and holding sessions to gain insights over Zoom. But students fear that secluded internships will not afford networking opportunities that could make spending a summer in an office very important, especially for interns with few professional contacts. .
“You make a lot of subtle hints about how to act in that profession, how to talk like an engineer, how to work in teams like a nurse,” said Matthew Hora, an education professor at the University of Wisconsin studying internships. “The students will be gone.”
Cassandra Dopp, a junior at the University of South Carolina, felt the effects of pandemonium earlier than most American college students: She was studying abroad in Rome when the coronavirus was infectious. Italy.
Si Ms. Dopp, a business major, returned home in March and is set to work for Geico this summer at the company’s headquarters in Fredericksburg, Va. But as she sat in her childhood bedroom last month, Ms. Dopp from someone The company relations officers, who informed him the internship had been canceled.
Many of his friends have received similar calls. But Ms. Dopp has always prided himself on staying organized and planning for the future. Now, he has no idea how he will remain covered after the final exams, let alone what he will do in July or August.
“I never put myself in this position to not have a plan for my summer and my future,” he said. “It’s a big letdown. It has failed.”
In a statement, Geico said the summer program revolves around internships across multiple departments to expose them to different aspects of the company. “Unfortunately,” the company said, “this experience is not possible in our current working environment.”
Many of the cancellations come from the types of logistical challenges, or from cost savings to companies that avoid pandemic economic harm. In other cases, students are hired to work in sports venues and political conventions, or to help organize canceled events.
Keri Johnson, a journalism student at Ohio University, came across what she described as a “dream” internship writing marketing material for the Nelsonville Music Festival in Ohio. The festival was then canceled, along with many other cultural events, such as South to Southwest.
Si Ms. Johnson will have to intern for at least 200 hours to earn his journalism degree in the fall. As the festival was canceled, he was worried that he would have to push for his graduation, which would make it harder to find a job and put his family in financial condition.
“Summer is the time I get to work as much as I can because I’m not in class,” Ms. Johnson. “It’s kind of scary to think about the fact that I can’t work in the summer like I usually do.”
Cancellations have been cut in almost every industry, from media to technology to finance. But it is predictable, the industries that suffered the most from pandemics – travel, retail, dressing – had especially many cancellations.
Connor Machon, a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, accepted an internship with American Airlines in late September, turning down many other offers. He got his first passion that the program could be dangerous when a friend set to work at Southwest Airlines had an offer canceled in March.
A few days later, he found out that his internship had been cut off too. Over the next few weeks, Mr. Machon continues to be busy applying for dozens of other positions and sending more than 100 networking emails. Eventually, he secured an internship at a start-up in Austin, earning $ 15 an hour.
“At this point, I’m really open to anything, as long as I’m paid,” he said.
Not all internships are canceled. A number of banks and technology companies have simply shortened their programs by several weeks. Media organizations such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal gave some interns a summer option of postponing until fall or next year.
Offering perhaps the sweetest settlement is the New York law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel, announced in April that incoming summer associates will no longer have to work but will still be paid and will still receive full offers after their graduation in 2021.
Other companies have moved their internships online. In early April, an eBay recruiter, Cindy Loggins, presented a series of choices to top executives, such as shortening the program or holding it remotely.
Given all the uncertainty, a total cancellation is also a serious possibility. “You silently don’t consider that as an option,” Ms. Loggins.
Eventually, the company moved the internship online. But a secluded program presents some logistical difficulties, such as incorporating “screen fatigue” and devising work schedules for interns living in different time zones.
To address any problems, Ms. Loggins, his team plans to conduct a weekly check-in with each of the interns, rather than the midpoint and program endings conducted by eBay in the past. But some road rites are impossible to replace.
“I probably got up to go somewhere and the intern said: ‘Hey, where are you going? Can we have lunch?'” Ms. Loggins. “That’s what we’re going to miss this summer.”
Many students will also miss the opportunity to spend several months in the real world, away from the floating atmosphere of a campus campus.
Irene Vázquez, a junior at Yale, is interning for a small New York-based publisher. Months ago, Ms. Vázquez said the summer was a test to “see if the whole East Coast small apartment would be viable on the road.” Instead, he will spend the summer away from his childhood home in Texas.
“I was worse, “he said.” But this was not the experience I had planned. “