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How these students got 'the most bang for their buck' in remote internships

October 13, 2020
<p>Darin Baydoun is an MSU senior majoring in journalism and double minoring in sports journalism and broadcasting. Photo courtesy of Darin Baydoun.</p>

Darin Baydoun is an MSU senior majoring in journalism and double minoring in sports journalism and broadcasting. Photo courtesy of Darin Baydoun.

Journalism senior Darin Baydoun worried about getting the required internship credit to graduate. And when his plans to study abroad and work for his father were uprooted, anxiety spiked.

Nearly last minute, he was pulled to work six months for Boss FM in June. He's worked from the comfort of his home the whole time, virtually, both due to the fact that there is a global pandemic and the company is based in Atlanta.

He started as an editor, then transitioned to managing social media promotion. 

Despite the last-minute changes, Baydoun said he is pleased.

"Considering everything that's going on right now and how volatile the whole world is, I couldn't have asked for a better first internship in terms of the overall experience I've had," Baydoun said.

Working from home has been calmer than the typical newsroom atmosphere — not that he wouldn't get used to that quite fast, he said — and has allowed him more freedoms to balance his education and personal life as well.

Baydoun said it's important to be persistent when searching for internships.

"There's going to be places that are open," Baydoun said. "There's always people going to be looking for work. An internship is an internship, at the very least it's a low-end thing. From a fellow journalism major, listen, this wasn't the first internship I initially thought I would've done, but you have to start somewhere. Get that real work experience and that graduation credit, slap it on your resume and say, 'I did it!' and you can keep moving up from there."

"And just because you get rejected once doesn't mean it's the end of the world," Baydoun said. "Be flexible. ... The more flexible you can be in a time like this, the more willing someone is going to be to probably hire you."


Carl Grondin is a junior double majoring in social relations and policy and philosophy.

He was an intern over the summer for Rise Free, a non-profit, non-partisan political organization that works to get out the knowledge about voting to the younger generation. Now he works as a fellow for them, an intern who is in charge of other interns.

In the beginning, trying to navigate the ropes after the end of spring semester was difficult for Grondin. Virtual work took some getting used to, even with his tech-savviness and four years of experience in the workforce. Starting at Rise Free was a culture shock for him, Grondin said.

Throughout the school year, Grondin said Rise Free has been extremely lenient toward their academic schedules and proper mental health hygiene. He is required to work a maximum of 20 hours a week.

"With everything going on through COVID and virtual MSU, being stuck in a bedroom 24 hours a day, seven days a week — it's been hard on my mental health and well-being, but I wouldn't want it any other way," Grondin said. 

He also said that another positive about working from home is that he no longer has to commute multiple hours a day from his rural community of Dryden, Michigan.

During his freshman year, Grondin was a law clerk at a law firm in Troy, Michigan. With the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, it was four hours of driving round trip. He's found that he's saved a lot of money on gas in recent times.

Grondin said that he enjoys working from the comfort of his bedroom and the idea of going back into the workplace, where he has to be in a strict, in-person job environment is unappealing. He likes being able to work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. or from midnight to 8 a.m. if he wants to.

Grondin said it's important to go into the internship application process with an open mind. Unpaid internships and paid internships hold the same level when it comes to graduation credits, and paid internships always find you in the end.

For those who may need resume builders, Grondin said that chances are, your employers will understand your struggle right now. Fear is valid, but don't let it stop you.

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Journalism senior Joe Freihofer spent his summer in Oklahoma as a videography intern for FC Tulsa, a soccer team that competes in the United Soccer League.

Three days a week, he attended official team training and catch shots for social media videos and promotionals for upcoming games. Halfway through the season, he decided to do a stand-up in Spanish, and they loved having someone who was fluent in it on camera, so Spanish content production became his new task once a week.

Freihofer journeyed on his Spanish speaking engagement for the first time in high school as a hobby. Once he came to MSU, he wanted to drop it.

However, the universe wanted otherwise. 

Through his Dominican professor, Freihofer began volunteering at local, less fortunate elementary schools where the students only spoke Spanish in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

They would bring them necessities like mittens and winter jackets and play with them at recess. The sensation of seeing the kids react to someone like him, a white male, speaking fluent Spanish really gave him a powerful connection.

His study abroad trip in Spain the summer before his junior year is what brought him back in.

Freihofer said, for those looking for internships, to not let their spirits get down too easily. 

"Countless teams and publications are still looking for remote positions, as well as in-person states with less workplace restrictions," Freihofer said in a text. "Take whatever opportunity you can get, because the stories we tell as journalists during this crazy time could be the difference maker and our defining moment when standing out from the rest."


MSU alumna Hannah Boyd currently works as a ninth and 12th grade English teacher at Grand Blanc High School through the MSU internship program.

Her students are being taught virtually, as many other primary and secondary educational facilities in the country are at this time.

"We only have three classes a day and are on two rotations," Boyd said. "We do first through third hour for three weeks, then we do fourth through sixth hour for three weeks and we bounce back and forth."

Boyd said after school, they have 30-minute open office hours for students to come in with questions or ask for assistance. Students will stick behind most times just to talk to their friends, she said.

"The first couple of weeks were weird," Boyd said. "I mean, it still is weird, but being very focused on making sure everything is communicated at the same effectiveness virtually as it would be in-person is important. It's a lot of having to readjust and seeing what's working and what's not. Nevertheless, it's going well. My fellow interns and I didn't anticipate that this would be how we were going to be teaching."

Boyd said she knows applying for internships is scary and overwhelming, especially virtually. Living in a weird world where we don't have any of the answers right now means it's necessary that you are forgiving of yourself and don't set too much on your shoulders.

"Go for it. You can still get so much out of an internship right now. ... You just have to go with the flow, which I know sounds cliche but it's true," Boyd said.

This article is part of our Oct. 13 print edition. View the full issue here.


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