Working remotely requires a more efficient and straightforward way of communication which I have acquired during the first week of my internship. Because I only report to one supervisor, who also has other research projects going on and other assistants to supervise, sometimes he cannot respond to my messages immediately. In order to avoid wasting time waiting for him to tell me the next task, I always let him know about 15 to 30 minutes in advance before I finish my current task. In this case, my supervisor will have time to arrange my next task. If I feel that the current task will take more time than usual to finish, I will also let him know about my progress.
Although some people find working from home really comfortable, I think a remote internship is actually more exhausted both physically and mentally. Although this internship is my first remote job, this is not my first time working with a laptop during 90% of the working hours. Sitting in a chair for at least 5 hours a day makes my back ache, and I had to go to a chiropractor for treatment. What is more, I am not fond of video chatting and zoom meetings — I prefer in-person conversation. At first, it was a little depressing for me to stay in front of my laptop all day and barely talk to anyone in person. Then, I quickly adjusted myself with regular grocery-shopping and in-door dining, conforming with COVID regulations.
Despite the fact that many research assistant jobs are very similar to the research we do when writing a research paper, there are some notable differences between a research job and schoolwork. All of the research papers I have written have word limits, but my current job on researching the Freedom Rides does not have a “limit.” I need to dig into the historical event as detailed as possible.
My academic life has not been vacant for the summer. As an international student, I must take INT 92G (Summer Internship) in order to be legally working off-campus. The course requires all students to complete a number of tasks to get credit. At the first glance, taking an “internship” class during the summer would seem boring and exhausting, but I found some of the readings really helpful, especially in coping with remote work. An article from the New York Times, Struggling to Disconnect from Our Digital Lives, offers a great perspective on how to deal with being dominant with electronic devices and online work. As working from home has been gradually considered into many companies’ long-term policies, this internship could help me adapt to the new work style and be ready for the uncertain working styles in the future.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I conduct research on the Civil Rights Movement and the life of Congressman John Lewis. Beyond the American history knowledge I learn from this internship, I also realize the present significance of the Movement and better comprehend the struggle of African-Americans.
(CR: New York Times)
When the New York Times reported that the Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus was arrested on Friday for protesting against the languishing of John Lewis Voting Rights Act, I felt that I was not reading a piece of news, but witnessing the effort that present activists spend to continue fighting for the systematic inequality that I have spent time researching. Learning and researching historical events is not only a skill but also a way of gaining another perspective to comprehend American politics and present-day racial struggle in the country, which could be helpful for my future career in the legal field.