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Intern Blog: Reflections on the First Two Weeks of My Virtual Experience

POSTED: Jun. 08, 2020

It has been two weeks since I started my virtual internship with the Kent Blossom Music Festival. I keep learning new information every day. In today’s blog, I want to talk about what a virtual internship looks like.

The first week was an on-boarding week. Although this is an on-going process, I am getting familiar with how the festival operates. As one of my learning objectives at KBMF, I want to learn about the operations and logistical needs of the festival. This probably would be much easier to achieve in-person, but, for now, I depend on staff members to explain these needs to me. Having meetings in a virtual setting does not trouble me at all, but it is difficult to fully picture how an event is planned and implemented without actually seeing the process. But, it is important to speak the same language with everyone at the festival. For me, understanding the planning process and daily operations are prerequisite to speaking the same language. This requires me to do more research and use my imagination. I am spending most of my time looking through past season handbooks, brochures, and programs, imaging myself as an incoming young artist or a new audience member.

Working remotely also means working independently. Although I still have scheduled meetings with different people, the absence of commuting and the office environment makes me more likely to have a loose daily schedule. I started to feel this way when we shifted to online classes at Eastman in March. At first, I was doing my work in my small room where my bed is next to my desk. It gradually became less and less productive. With online classes, I still had weekly assignments and fixed meeting times to have a stable weekly schedule. However, with a virtual working environment, it is less likely I would have weekly deadlines to meet since most projects are long-term. Thus, I have constructed my own detailed and stable daily schedule. I am also trying to separate my workspace and my living space to help with work-balance issues. It's especially important right now as I am working from China which is 12 hours ahead of the US. Most of my meetings are scheduled in the early morning in EST, which is after-dinner time for me. I usually need to take notes of what I need to look at and resume my work the next day. The division of space helps me to switch modes between working and resting.

I am thankful that everyone here is empathic and helpful. I found those are the most important components to have a successful virtual working experience. There have been some unexpected issues and other issues are likely to come up. Even the simple meetings might be cut off by an internet interruption. From my perspective, this whole event-planning process and chamber music education are new for me. The marketing initiatives that I am working on right now, like this blog, were not something I've done before this internship started. I need time to learn and get used to new information. Mr. Sepúlveda, the director of KBMF, has been very patient and instructive in explaining everything. Also, Mr. Paa, the marketing assistant, has provided a lot of resources and examples to use as reference.

When I recall the first two weeks, it has been a productive starting point. I have learned a lot and have started taking on new challenges and initiatives. I have gradually detailed my daily schedule; I am getting to know how the festival is planned and prepared; I have started to work on some marketing initiatives. Soon, I will share more of my actual work once we start our rebroadcast series!

Written by Eva Zhang