For my STEP internship, I worked at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. I was part of the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) administered by ASEE. At this internship, I assisted my mentor with his research by designing parts for experiments and analyzing data.
From discussions with my roommate, who also worked at the NRL, and working with my mentor, I realized that I will need to enjoy my future job and that I want a short commute. I also realized that many people will put up with very long commutes and bad hours, for the opportunity to have a job they love doing. Another important realization that I had was the understanding that I need to have fulfilling social life, and also find fulfillment in my work. This internship helped me realize that I could find both in a career as a researcher or research engineer.
My realization that I needed to find fulfilment in my work was fueled by two people, my roommate and my mentor. At the beginning of our internship, my roommate and I were discussing what we were doing at work and my roommate mentioned that he didn’t really enjoy what he was doing. After a bit of discussion, he revealed that he was fine with that because he believed that that one should find fulfillment at home and in one’s personal life rather than in their job. I didn’t realize that I disagreed with him until he said that. I believe that you need to have fulfilling work, and personal life, in order to be happy. When this discussion was over, I realized that in the future, I would need to search for a job that I enjoyed, and a living situation where I could have a fulfilling social life.
Interactions with my mentor and other interns also helped me realize what I want out of a job, and that I need to enjoy it. My mentor showed me that I should enjoy my career. I came to this realization when I saw how much he enjoyed his work. When I would work with him, usually in the lab, he was always bursting with energy and ideas to improve or test our project. I want my future career to be as fun as my mentor finds his career. Almost every day, a group of interns would meet each other for lunch. At lunch, we would talk about practically anything, and what we were doing at work would occasionally come up. I realized that most of the other interns had jobs where they consistently needed to solve problems, or that they were trying to study some sort of effect in order to understand it better. These conversations, combined with my experiences in the internship, made me realize that I want a career doing that type of work.
The internship program did not offer housing, so I had to find a place to live on my own. Since I didn’t know DC or the DC metropolitan area, I made a few mistakes when choosing a place to live. What I’ve learned from these mistakes will definitely influence where I want to live in the future. To begin, I had an awful commute. My morning commute was about an hour, and my afternoon commute was around 1.5 hours in stop-and-go traffic. This long commute meant that I had absolutely no time for hobbies, since all of my spare time was spent driving to-and-from work. In the future, I do not want to live far away from my job. I was also nowhere near the actual city of Washington, or any of its public transportation. Since I didn’t have a car, I ended up ran into some difficulty traveling into the city. When I’ve found a career, and if I live near a city, I’d like to live much closer than I did this summer and have access to public transportation.
This internship helped me end the summer with many more expectations and hopes for my future. It helped me realize that I’d like to be a government researcher, and it let me access experiences and people that that will be helpful in finding similar internships and career oppurtunities. The location of the house I lived in, along with the commute, gave me insight into what I want from where I live, and where my home should be in relation to my work.
Here’s a link to the blog that I wrote: http://u.osu.edu/steplog/
It doesn’t have much, but I tried to keep it updated on some of the things I did.