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Javier Maldonado

RST student Javier Maldonado talks about how COVID changed his summer

Students in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois have had to adjust their internships because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Periodically, we will speak with them about how those changes have affected their summer plans and potentially career paths. Javier Maldonado expected to work at a field house in Chicago, but instead was part of the inaugural Illini RST Undergraduate Consulting (IRUC) program, created by RST department head Carla Santos and clinical assistant professor Mike Raycraft. He talked to AHS communications about his experience working for The Specialized Marketing Group and the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.

Q: How are your experiences different from what you expected?

A: My experiences are very different from what I had expected from my internship; I expected something where I would be hands-on and not behind a computer screen. 

Q: Are you doing something different for your internship than what you originally planned?

A: No, not from when I found out about this internship and what it would be like. Since it's begun, I don’t believe I have done anything different then what was originally planned. 

Q: Does your internship lead you to think about a different career path?

A: It doesn’t necessarily drive to a different path, but it does open up my eyes to different fields within my major. 

Q: What happened to your original internship?

A: I was waiting to hear back from a field house in Chicago but because of COVID-19, they didn’t know how many people they would actually need. Unfortunately, because of time, they weren’t able to give me an answer. 

Q: Has anything been frustrating about your change in internship status?

A: The only frustrating part is being at home and having to work from home.

Q: What are you missing out on because of the pandemic, in terms of working face-to-face with people?

A: I feel like face-to-face is the biggest thing I am missing out on; I am a very hands-on learner and would have liked to learn from a professional face to face. 

Q: What advice do you have for future students who might have disrupted internships?

A: The advice I have is to try and maintain a positive view on things. It’s going to be hard when things don’t go the way you expect but making the best out of situations goes a long way. 

Q: What other ways has COVID-19 affected you? Have you traveled? Have you been able to go home, see family? 

A: COVID-19 has just been a bummer and being stuck at home all the time hasn’t been fun, either. 

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