Prateek Surana

@prateeksurana3255

Things I learned working remotely as a student

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

If you are a student and are still confused that you should take up a particular remote role or not or want some tips regarding working remotely efficiently, then you are at the right place. In this article, I am going to discuss the pros and cons, the dos and don’ts I have learned working remotely as a student.

As of my background, I am a senior year engineering student and I am currently working remotely as a Front end engineering intern at Devfolio and have previously worked remotely on one another freelancing project, that didn’t go too well.

The Routine

The biggest advantage of working remotely is the routine since you don’t have any office strings attached you can decide when you want to work, and how you want to work but try to create a fixed routine so that it does not interfere with your daily chores.

From my experience, you should work whenever you can during the daytime, so that you can take a break in the evening, and then continue work during the night. You should go out and take a walk or hang out with your friends in the evening because it helps to relax your body and uplifts your mood after a stressful day.

Avoiding Distractions

When you are working remote, it’s easy getting distracted and getting distracted periodically either due to your constantly beeping phone or an unhealthy environment seriously dampens your overall productivity.

Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. — Cal Newport, Deep Work.

So choose a noise-free environment to work, and if you can’t find one just put on your headphones and listen to some soothing music or white noise if songs are also too distracting for you.

For restricting phone usage you can use the Screen Time feature in IOS 12.0+ and Digital Wellbeing for Android 9.0+ devices. If you don’t have the latest OS you can use apps like Thrive Away to restrict your phone usage.

Maintaining Proper Communication

You should maintain good communication with your co-workers, or your employer with your everyday updates and should ping them whenever you get stuck somewhere so that they are also aware of the status of the tasks assigned to you.

Don’t just try to single-handedly fix a particular issue if it takes more time than it is supposed to. Keep them updated about the issues you are running into.

You can also follow something like we do, we have a daily sync up call, where we discuss everything we accomplished on that day, issues we ran into, and we also have a separate channel on slack for this where we post these updates so that everyone on the team is aware of our daily tasks.

Avoid Freelancing *

Freelancing might sound the best possible remote internship, but if this is going to be your first internship or you are a beginner just like I was during my first remote internship, then you should probably let it go, instead, try to find some good startups to apply to.

The issues with taking up freelancing projects as students are that since you are a noob, there are very good chances that you don’t know the proper coding practices that should be followed while handling large codebases, and without proper mentoring you will most probably end up writing very bad code like, copy-pasting potentially reusable components or just not following proper guidelines which might become problematic when the project scales.

Also, your condition becomes hell if you get stuck somewhere and you can’t find a solution for it. I know opening GitHub issues or asking stack overflow questions might help, but these things take time, which is not a big issue when working on personal projects, but becomes a pain in the ass when you have to deal with deadlines for your freelancing project.

I am not saying that freelancing projects are all bad but if you are going to work on such a project then make sure that you are experienced enough in that particular domain and, just try to discuss and clarify all the possible functionalities that might be required for that project at first, and confirm that you would be able to learn all the things required on time.

The Sacrifices

If you live in an environment like mine where most of your fellow mates are just lazy enough to do anything most of the time, then you will have to miss some occasions to hang out with them so that you don’t miss a particular deadline.

You will need to say no when necessary.

And sometimes it won’t be easy, sometimes you would really want to enjoy with them but you won’t be able to, so keep that in mind before taking up any remote role.

Don’t become a loner

Yes, I know that I just said that you need to avoid hanging out with your friends too frequently but just don’t cut off yourself from the physical world, this can lead to much more serious consequences like depression.

You need to find the right balance between your work and personal life.

Leave it if it isn’t working

This is the mistake that I made during my first remote freelancing project. I and my friend signed up for it, and since it was our first internship we got so excited that we accepted the role, without even properly researching about the project or the employer.

It started well, but eventually, the requirements kept on changing, and we were being asked to integrate things that we had no idea about, with strict time boundations. So we spent sleepless nights just to meet the deadlines, but still weren’t able to properly finish those tasks and this combined with the academic pressure made our condition worse every day, until one day we decided to quit it altogether.

I still wish sometimes that we should have taken that decision soon enough, or haven’t signed up for it at all, but we were too novice at that time to predict such consequences.

So, if your work is becoming more and more stressful, if you are not getting enough time to meet your deadlines, if the attitude of your employer is too arrogant towards you or if it’s just your inner gut feeling telling you that you’re getting nowhere with this internship.

Then just leave.

Your student life already has enough stress to offer to you, you don’t need to overburden yourself with stress at this stage of your life.

Conclusion

So just apply to websites like angel.co and build some new connections on Linkedin to find a new remote role, because I believe that this is an experience that everyone should have at least once, during their student life, it teaches you a lot about time management.

And remember that, working remotely is like being in a long-distance relationship, you need to have a mutual understanding from both sides to make it work.

I hope I have given you enough insights, about working remotely as a student. If you still have any doubts, please feel free to jot them down in the comment section below.

Please 👏 if you like this article, it really motivates people like me to keep writing such articles. You can reach me out or know more details about me on Github, Twitter, Linkedin, or my website.

Thanks for reading :)

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