I believe that many of us experienced a moment of epiphany in which we all realized that March of 2020 was the end of the world as we knew it because of COVID-19. The start of the global pandemic affected everyone’s lives in immeasurable ways, but one thing was certain – everything was uncertain, and no one knew what the coming days, weeks, or months had in store. My moment of epiphany was the afternoon of Tuesday, March 17, when I first received an email from the Dean of Rutgers University informing the class of 2020 that graduation was cancelled. All in one instant, I had lost the last few months of my senior year, the moment of tossing my cap alongside my classmates of four years, the experience of graduating college in front of my immigrated family, and much more. It was then that I knew COVID-19 was not going away any time soon and that normalcy would be altered. However, little did I know that this was the start of an extraordinary journey that would bring me to LifeSci Communications.
The Job Search
After a few months of virtual classes, a virtual graduation, and the start of postgrad life in quarantine, I was feeling discouraged about the future. I was skeptical about starting a full-time job working from home for many reasons, and naïvely thought that waiting around for the pandemic to end would be a wiser choice. Nevertheless, I went through the motions of job searching; tirelessly updating my resume, prepping for interviews, networking, applying, researching, learning, you name it. Among a sea of possibilities, LifeSci Communications stood out to me the most. Interviews felt like conversations, the company culture felt outstanding, and I had regained a sense of optimism for the future. Accepting an offer with LifeSci was hands down the greatest decision I have ever made.
The Workplace Setting
Next thing I knew, the home that I had grown up in had turned into the office of my very first full-time job. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that I would be taking Zoom calls, meeting my colleagues, and beginning my career at the same desk where I did homework from 1st through 12th grade. The setting of a workplace is imperative to exceptional productivity, and most recently I had been so accustomed to spending hours at the library or academic buildings at school to achieve that – anywhere other than a place I associated with down time. Starting at LifeSci, I was most concerned that the setting of my childhood bedroom I had been quarantining in would stunt my learning and completing all my new responsibilities.
The Learning Process
To my pleasant surprise, the experience of starting at LifeSci was so new and exciting that my setting was the least essential component of it all. Remote onboarding went smoother than I could have ever imagined, and I felt welcomed and integrated into the rest of the team immediately. Face-to-face time with colleagues, even over Zoom, makes a huge difference. Right off the bat, I had gotten a good feel for understanding more and more as I began putting into practice all the new information I was learning and taking on different tasks. The most significant difficulty of the entire experience, however, was learning to step outside of my comfort zone to ask questions and be proactive. Many times, it has felt difficult to reach out and ask questions or take on tasks preemptively, out of fear of appearing naïve. This is challenging to handle in general, and even more so from behind a computer screen. Although I have felt both personal and professional growth in this aspect since starting back in June, it is something I am still working on in new ways every day with the help and encouragement of my colleagues. Some day-to-day things that have helped me adjust to this new experience are standard but go a long way when working from home—for example, writing out a daily to-do list, prioritizing tasks and working on time management. All these practices allow for a proactive, productive work environment no matter where you are.
This week marks my fifth month at LifeSci, and all I have to say about that is – time really does fly when you’re having fun. From the start, I have felt an overwhelming sense of motivation and support from every member of the team, and I owe it to all of them for making my entry into this world of the virtual workplace as great as can be. Despite only having interacted through Zoom calls, emails, and Slack messages, it has truly felt like I have gotten to know everyone here – and I am counting down the days that I get to step foot in our office and meet everyone in person for the first time.
Graphic created by: Autumn Von Plinsky