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Remote internship offers big city experience

Strutting with some fellow members of my university's advertising club.

The results are in: rural students like myself no longer have to sweat a move to the city for an internship experience.

Over the past three months I’ve worked as an intern for Workfrom which is based in Portland, Oregon, from my college town of Maryville, Missouri. At Northwest Missouri State University, we have to submit a detailed internship application form that expects the internship to happen on-premise. Convincing my counselor that I could successfully work for a real company without ever stepping foot into their offices was something completely new to my department. (Never mind that Workfrom doesn’t have an office, unless you count all the coffee shops.) But she eventually let me roll with it and approved me for 1 credit hour.

Interning remotely for Workfrom has been deliciously ironic. Entering the spring semester of my junior year, I was shoveling to-dos onto my plate like never before. I was active in and secured a Co-Presidential position in my university’s advertising club (AdInk), was hired as a copywriter for a student agency called Knacktive as well as design editor for the Northwest Missourian newspaper, and polished off numerous summer internship applications. Still kicking myself for not snagging a gig in the big city last year, I was looking for a taste of the internship experience before I would (at the time, hopefully) hit the KC agency scene this June. So, despite only negotiating 1 credit hour in exchange for what would be over a hundred hours of work, I think I snagged a great opportunity. And now that I know how startups operate, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

It’s all about communication.

If you find something cool, interesting, or scary, it gets communicated to your team, no matter how far away or time-disparate they are. I had the pleasure of zipping up to Chicago over my spring break to scout some shops recommended to me by a friend. I considered my adventure a workation, but naturally I still found myself living out a healthy balance of fun and function during my stay.

Whenever I checked in with the team, there was never that uncomfortable looming fear of, “I need this X on my desk by Y.” To me, that’s not the nature of the remote worker. That’s not to say I don’t understand deadlines; I also work for a newspaper, after all. But the humdrum, stationary 9-5 workday may not be the future of work for true innovators.

As an undergrad coming up on my last stretch of coursework next year, I’m beginning to realize that I can’t always find 100% of my time for any one thing if I’m constantly stagnating in the same place.

To me, creativity is finding solutions for problems. If I can attest to any one problem today’s students face, it’s overdosing on responsibilities and burning the *$&@ out. We need a change of pace every now and again. There are only a few places I can go to in my small city for solitude and productivity.

I get tired of my newsroom desk. The library never changes. Sometimes, my roommate wants to watch a movie REALLY LOUDLY at home. Where can I even go for a breath of fresh, coffee-and-wifi-twixt air?

Give me a few months, and I’ll let you know where to sprawl out in Kansas City. I’ve got a lot of work to do at Barkley advertising this summer, and I can’t wait to spark Workfrom in the heartland.


About the Author

Jake Mlnarik is a musician, student, broadcaster and craftsman. You can follow Jake on his future internship adventures at @jakemlnarik and on Workfrom as Awesome2623

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