Torchia Communications

A virtual internship in Public Relations: The scoop from an insider

July 25, 2022
Pénélope Carreau

I am a young woman who seizes opportunities. I used to watch them pass me by, but I decided to change my mindset as I went to university. I was co-founder of a student club months before the pandemic halted my studies and joined another one the summer before going fully virtual for the 2020-2021 school year. My close friends know that any free time I have won’t stay that way; it’s quickly filled with new projects. Becoming a ‘working woman’ was always something I aspired to—and it needed to happen as soon as possible! Since then, there has not been an opportunity I missed that aligned with this drive.

I started my all-virtual internship at Torchia Communications in January 2021. Quite frankly, I didn’t know what I was signing up for. It was a LinkedIn job post that had put this public relations agency on my radar and, the very next day, I had applied for the position. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to gain experience, even though the Communications agency world was an intimidating one as a complete outsider.

Every day, in between four classes, I would log on and learn more about this world and its intricacies, and I eventually learned to find my voice through my writing and working style. I noticed how much I enjoyed working on multiple projects simultaneously for clients from a wide variety of industries, and how days never looked the same. I embraced the pressure I felt during extremely busy periods and gained confidence in my efficiency while I was under much stress.

My internship wasn’t without its challenges, of course. It had already been a full semester of online learning and screen fatigue had well settled in. Some days, I had to search deeper to find the motivation to do my job, always able to push through. I never let the quality of my work be affected, which set me apart as an intern. Working in a team-oriented environment without any physical contact with my colleagues was something I had to adapt to. In July 2021, I finally met the entire team in person. This eventually turned into being at the office once a week—a refreshing change of pace and environment.

After eight months of hard work, I realized that the fast-paced, difficult to predict, and versatile world of public relations was exactly what I had been chasing.

I headed back to school in September 2021 for my last year as a communications student but this time it felt like a new chapter had started. I had the chance to become a full-time working woman over the summer, but I still had to finish my degree. After accepting a part-time role with Torchia as an account coordinator, I now had a new challenge: balance schoolwork and continue working part-time in PR. As I didn’t feel so much like an outsider to this world anymore, it was a challenge I enthusiastically accepted.

My three takeaway tips for your next virtual internship

For any student looking for work experience in a hybrid or virtual model, below are some tips that helped me navigate and maximize my virtual internship experience, which can hopefully help you too.

    1. Treat your internship as if it was in person.
      Get to know your team, wish your close colleagues a good morning, reach out to them with any questions you might have, and engage as if you were in an office together.
    2. Adapt and become independent ASAP.
      Quickly learn to adapt to your managers’ different work styles and become independent as quickly as possible. In a remote setting, you must learn to manage your time, your tasks, and your deadlines without anyone around to hold you accountable.
    3. Change your mindset.
      Replace “I am simply an intern; I won’t be here for long” with “I was selected to be part of this team, and I’ll do my best to serve it well just like any other colleague would.”

Best of luck!