Thoughts on a Summer Internship

Hello World.

 

I have to come to terms with the fact that I never will blog as frequently as I promise myself I will. Once again, it’s been a solid two months since I last wrote. My summer internship is over, my summer classes are over, yet there are only two short weeks before I move back to campus (again).

 

This summer flew by. I have enjoyed my time immensely as I made new friends and worked (sometimes seemingly endlessly) for hours on end. But, as with the close of every job/season, it’s time to reflect on the good, the bad, the necessary that happened. Here are just a few things I learned this summer:

 

  1. Maximizing your resources is absolutely necessary to being successful.

I knew I would have the internship at AidData in early May. I knew then that it only required 30 hours of work a week, which would have left ample time to relax each day…or I could use that extra time to pursue a different field. I chose to take two classes. Once my internship started, I learned about the awesome opportunities this company had to offer: I quickly got on board with what I liked to call, a side project. Then, I learned about a research proposal competition, which I also decided to do. Did I take on way too much? Of course. Did I sit in my friends’ room several nights and wonder how I was going to get everything done? Heck yes. But now, with everything finished, I feel so accomplished and proud of what I did this summer. I wouldn’t have been happy if I had let those opportunities fly by me. So, if you’re pursuing an internship for the upcoming semester or school year, think about what else you can do. Don’t be stuck in one job, bored out of your mind with the repetition and monotony. Maximize your resources, and start something else.

 

Oh yeah, I would also like to mention: Maximizing your resources can lead to more networking opportunities. People higher up on the company totem pole will see you being proactive and taking interest in something you’re passionate about, and will want to write you a recommendation letter in the future.

 

  1. I cannot sit still for 8 hours a day.

I never thought I would have problems with a desk job in the future. I imagined myself researching, writing, crunching numbers for my dream job. Now, after having to sit down for six to eight hours a day, I know I can’t do that.

 

  1. Being surrounded by people you like is key to surviving anything.

I would not have survived my internship without my best friend by my side all summer. I learned the art of subtle communication- utilizing google chat to converse with someone sitting right beside you. Of course workplace gossip kept us entertained amongst the boring hours of coding, and we looked especially productive having our email open, rather than being on Facebook or with eyes glued to our phones. Communicators of the future, learn the necessity of g-chat. I can see the tagline now, “Google chat: inciting workplace rumors since 2015.”

 

  1. Cooking for five is more fun than cooking for one.

This summer was the first one where I was completely on my own, without a meal plan. Eating out every night is just too god dang expensive, so I had to learn how to cook.

Except, I didn’t. Luckily for me, four of my close friends all lived in the same dorm as me this summer, so we all ate together most of the time. In reality, only one of our friends knows how to cook really well. (Bless you, Andie, for your delicious food.) But, we all ate together many nights, which made the evenings so enjoyable. Sometimes I even felt like a real adult there. There were times that I knew I could have been studying, or researching, or reading a book I wanted, but I chose to strengthen the bonds of friendship with these people. They truly made my summer so memorable.

If you have a painfully boring internship, make sure you make friends that you can spend time with. I cannot stress this enough. My friends MADE this summer for me. Sure, the academic stuff was productive and made me feel successful, but my friends and the fun I had with them made this summer one of the most entertaining and memorable summers I’ve ever had.

 

  1. Everything has an expiration date.

Your internship will end one day. That exceedingly difficult class you’re taking will end. One day, everything will be over. So don’t worry if your internship is the worst possible thing you’ve ever done, or that you’re stuck at an awful job because it pays well but the work sucks. The terribleness will come to pass, and you can move on from it then. There were times this summer that I didn’t think I could geocode anymore. While I enjoyed my job, I would not want to do it for another summer. And that’s okay! That’s the point of internships. We do them, and we learn what we want to/don’t want to do for the future. Just take the horribleness one step at a time.

(In the event that my boss ends up reading this…I’m sorry, but you’ve said it yourself: geocoding can be boring work.)

 

So…that’s a very brief list of what I’ve learned this summer. I honestly do wish I had had more time to write, as I have a lot of thoughts/ideas for upcoming blog posts. But, I will inevitably get too busy, so this is what you get for now.

 

Did you have an amazing summer internship? What did you learn from it?

Missing the Mark

Have you ever applied to something and not gotten it? “Dear sir or madam, but we regret to inform you that…” emails can be the worst. They tell you one thing and one thing only: You’ve missed the mark. You didn’t make the cut. You haven’t succeeded yet.

Sometimes in life, we don’t get what we want. I’ve had my fair share of failed applications, botched interviews, and missed opportunities. It doesn’t mean we’re not good enough; it just means we’re not right for the part.

I spent a lot of my freshman and sophomore year applying to things that I didn’t get. Before I got to college, I didn’t really understand the merit of not getting something you applied to. I started to experience failure with the college admissions process. However, I was lucky. I got into the majority of the schools I applied to. The one I really wanted to get into? Not so much. The scholarships I applied to? Nada.

I entered college, expecting the same attention as high school. I was a good student, so I obviously would get the extra opportunities, right? Boy, was I wrong.

But I wasn’t the only one in that boat. College was a bigger sea, so the applicant pool was a lot larger, even for extra-curricular and volunteer activities. I applied to several programs that were only looking for a few students, and got turned down by all of them.

The next year, I realized that I had to start applying to internships, if I wanted to jumpstart my career. I luckily found my way into an on-campus job that turned into my internship for the summer, but I still applied to about 7 internships that I didn’t get into. To be fair, some were above my skill level, but the “recommended qualifications” never stopped me.

I’ve lived my life with the mantra that if I work hard enough and want it bad enough, anything is possible. Any road is possible. Any life that I want to live.

I still believe that to this day, but I know that with hard work and good expectations still comes failure. I have failed a lot more times than I have succeeded, but I haven’t given up yet. (I don’t plan on giving up any time soon.)

If you’re among the crowd of students without a job, an internship, or a worthy opportunity this summer, don’t worry. I was in your place every summer before this one. It doesn’t mean that you suck, or are a lousy applicant, or are “unfit to be a working adult.” It just means that you have more time to improve yourself.

So! Don’t spend the summer laying around, doing nothing. Pick up a book (or several) on a topic that interests you. There are tons of online courses available on nearly any subject in the world. Learn something new. There are even courses in programming languages that you can put on your resume (hint hint I wish I had time to do this. If you have the time, do it for me.)

Sadly, this does not mean binge-watching the new Orange Is the New Black season will become a skill you can put on your resume. It does, however, mean that you can focus on something you’re passionate about, which will impress college admissions counselors and job recruiters alike.

I always have too much on my plate, but that’s because I don’t stop trying to shove things on it. Sometimes, nothing on your plate is a worthier experience than having too much on it. So don’t worry if you didn’t land the perfect internship this summer. You can still make the most of it.