Surviving Your Summer: Getting that 120% people are always talking about.
Written by Elizabeth Liu (Rice '15 and former Delphix intern joining Delphix full time this summer)
Summer internships provoke a couple of different feelings - for me, they were mostly excitement and anticipation. I was interning in an entirely new city (San Francisco!), knowing very few people, and with no idea of what to expect for my time at Delphix.
Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration. But as someone who will be graduating and will have no more internships, let me share some lessons that I learned not only at Delphix but also during my other summers at Microsoft and Spiceworks.
Gauge the work culture
Every workplace environment is a little different, and as an intern you are also trying to measure how good of a fit the company is for you. Figuring out what hours people work, how they communicate, what resources they use, how they relax, etc., through communication and observation can help you ramp up quickly and also prevent you from making any cultural faux pas. This isn't to say that you should change how you work or communicate, but finding out how you fit into the big picture can help your transition.
What you do matters
It's exciting and a little bit scary, but even though the people around you may be incredibly busy with their work, what you do still makes an impact. I remember being taken aback at one past internship when my manager's boss commented about a meeting I had held with developers on an entirely separate team. Luckily, it was positive feedback, but people really do notice the little things.
Like I said, getting an idea of the culture and environment is a rare opportunity you have as an intern. As part of that, meet full-timers who are not on your team or working on something related to you. Lunch is a great time to meet new people - and people are happy to talk about themselves and their experiences. Also, it's just fun to meet a variety of people!
Ask for specific feedback
Getting your mentor, manager, or even a bystander to give you feedback is one of the best ways to improve - however, sometimes detailed feedback is difficult to come by. If you have specific instances where you felt like you could have done better, ask what you could have improved in a specific instance. With that as a starting point, you may be able to identify trends!
Know your weaknesses
This is also obvious, but this applies to work and life! For example, regarding one of my points- I am actually not great at meeting new people. However, my roommates every summer have been extremely extroverted and I've been able to become friends with a lot of people at different companies as well as new people from my university. Be proactive and mitigate your weaknesses by surrounding yourself by people who compliment you.
What do you want?
Finally, like I said before, a summer internship is a unique experience that can help you identify what you want in a future workplace. Do you like a big or a small company? How are you most productive? What kind of work do you enjoy? At the beginning of my internship/job hunt, I had no idea what would suit me best because I had no experience. I'm glad to have found my fit with Delphix - I hope you find yours as well!
The Delphix internship program is full this Summer, but we are always excited to meet potential future talent! If you are interested in opportunities, be sure to submit your resume online at our Careers Page.