It was May 12th and the start of my second internship in college. I had skipped breakfast to go over my mental checklist again. Laptop: check, pants: check, false confidence: check. I showed up at the office at 8:45 but it was locked. This gave me an extra 15 minutes to think about how I hadn’t done anything real in Python and remember the names of the people that had interviewed me. It was 9:08 and still, no one was at the office. I triple checked the name on the door, double checked the welcome email and quadruple checked the time. Was this internship just an elaborate practical joke by my roommates? Paperless business did seem fishy. Finally everyone arrived from breakfast and my first day actually started.
After setup and introductions and a brand new, sweet-ass, flippin’ Macbook Pro, I proceeded to poke around the code and sign up for some conference at some hotel that we were going to the next day. All I knew was that I was going to get a brand new, sweet-ass, flippin’ Chromebook out of it. The days passed and I started off a little slow, talking to only Lin (the other intern) and Kari, who introduced me to everything. I got into Python almost seamlessly (Guido van Rossum be praised!) and started working on my first real assignment.
We moved to the new office, had a party, had more Lunch n’ Learns and Tech Talks and I was getting a lot more comfortable. I started to notice something about the people I was working with. The daily standup ritual, the lunches, the general chatroom banter; it had seemed sort of unproductive before but I was starting to realize that it wasn’t. I noticed that a lot of problems were tackled immediately because of these rituals. The connection between the support team and the development team and the marketing team wasn’t some single person. It wasn’t a pipeline, it was a web. And this web had no bottlenecks.
As the weeks passed, I had begun talking to more people. I was talking to people across the table and even people across the ocean. More importantly, I was learning from them. Hidden amidst the banter were valuable pieces of information. Every name thrown around was a connection, every piece of code ridiculed was a software design lesson and every co-worker I had was a friend.
Every internship will teach you something. Yes, I learned a lot about databases, scalability, Python, web servers, etc. But what I really learned was the difference between a business and a team. A business works but a team P.L.A.Y-s. In a team, everyone looks out for each other. It’s not about the number of points you can do in an iteration or if you’re a better coder than someone else. Everyone is working towards the same goal and that goal is to be successful together.
I had an incredible time at Synapp.io, it completely redefined what a job could be, for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better internship experience and I’m thankful to everyone that helped make it this memorable. I learned some valuable skills related to my major, I learned about teamwork and leadership and I learned about foosball. My drugs, sex and rock n’ roll is now Python, butter coffee and foosball, and I’m loving it.