This past year has been a rollercoaster of endless events from COVID-19 coming to the United States to universities and schools shutting down to everyone being forced to stay home and quarantine to people wearing masks everywhere they go. Our entire way of living is now revolving around COVID-19 and adjusting to what everyone is referring to as the “new normal.” Part of adjusting to this “new normal” involved having to figure out how to work as an intern during the pandemic.
Prior to Cabrini shutting down and moving classes completely online for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester, I applied for a summer internship at Brooke Voris Weddings, which is a local wedding planning business not far from Cabrini’s campus.
After having to move back home early for the rest of the semester, I was wondering if my internship was even still going to happen because I was constantly hearing from my friends that all their internships were canceled due to COVID-19. Plus, the internship was for a wedding planning company and everyone was postponing their weddings because of the pandemic. Also, this was the first internship that I ever had. I began to consider putting off my internship for another semester until I received an email asking if I still wanted to schedule an interview for the internship.
Safe to say that I was very relieved to find out that my internship wasn’t canceled, but because I’m a natural over-thinker, I began asking myself a million other questions about how my internship was going to work in the middle of a pandemic. Would I have to go into the office at all? If so, would I go in everyday or only a few times a week? How often would we have meetings? Would meetings be over Zoom, FaceTime or some other form of video chat? Or would all the meetings happen through old fashioned phone calls? What can I do as an intern for a wedding planning company if there are no weddings to plan?
Shortly after finding out that I had gotten the internship, my questions began to be answered. Much like how everything else functioned during the lockdown portion of the pandemic, I worked completely online from my home.
In the beginning of my internship, Brooke Voris, the owner of Brooke Voris Weddings, and Melissa Chiaravalloti, my supervisor, would text and email me my daily assignments. For the first few weeks, I mostly posted on their social media platforms Mondays through Saturdays. From creating a social media for Meme Monday to researching fun facts about different aspects of weddings for Fun Fact Friday, I was able to learn about social media marketing and the business side of running a wedding planning company.
Eventually, I was given more tasks as the summer continued on. I listened to consultations for potential clients, helped to make proposals to show to clients, created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all potential clients and explained Canva’s functions to my supervisors. Though I learned a lot and the women that I worked with were more than helpful to me through the duration of my internship, it still felt weird not having to to go into an office or constantly dress in business attire everyday like I expected I would.
On the last day of my internship, I was able to help set up an actual wedding. I helped decorate the reception tables, placed toiletries in the restrooms and took pictures of the entire venue. I directed guests to where they needed to stand for the ceremony, made sure everyone was socially distant from one another, recorded the bride and groom’s first dance and helped avert a crisis when the cake began to melt due to the summer’s heat. Not only was this wedding unique due to COVID-19 restrictions, but also the wedding had a viking theme, which was pretty awesome.
Overall, my first internship was much different than I envisioned it would be. I didn’t drive to an office every day. I didn’t have to dress in professional clothing every day. I didn’t get to see my co-workers on a daily basis. However, I still feel as though I learned a lot from my summer internship despite the setbacks from the pandemic. I was able to apply my social media marketing skills in a real world setting. I learned about the importance of combining business and communications into my internship from my really helpful supervisors. And most importantly, I was able to gain some real world experience planning a wedding. So yeah, my first wasn’t at all like I expected it would be, but I don’t think I would change my experience for a more traditional internship any way.
Things have changed due to the pandemic, and we don’t know when everything will go back to normal. Learning how to adapt to our “new normal,” no matter what the situation may be, is the best thing we can all do right now.