STEP Reflection

My step project was helping me fund my summer internship at Applied Manufacturing Technologies.  At my internship I essentially wrote programs in the programming language C which allowed me to access data from different databases.  I used the funding to help subsidize my housing, food, travel and other expenses I incurred along the way.

This internship marked many firsts.  This was my first time ever living on my own, first time being in such a professional setting every day, and the first time I had a chance to develop many skills that one simply can’t do in a classroom setting.

At my internship I was immersed into an environment where I was surrounded by people that are revered in the chemical engineering world.  With their expertise, knowledge and guidance I quickly learnt what it takes to be more professional.  Aside from just the superficial things such as how to dress, how to behave and etiquette I also learnt how to develop a strong relationship with clients, how to properly convey a thought or message in a professional manner, how to professionally give constructive criticism.  These are all traits that can only be learnt through practice in the real world.  The actual task at hand really grounded my understanding of programming and internal network database structures and my internship was no means one where I just got my boss coffee.  I worked close to fifty hour weeks where I had something to do at all points in time.

At home I had to cook for myself, clean, do laundry, and make sure to pay my rent, stay organized and take care of all the other duties associated with living on your own.  Being in college helps you learn some of these skills but I had lived in dorms or at home till this point so I hadn’t had all the responsibilities all at once before.  In the professional world image and presentation is everything so I had to make sure that I had clean, ironed dress clothes, and that I had a lunch prepared for the next day and that I shaved and made myself presentable.

The experience also taught me what I like and dislike about my particular duties, working in a small contract company and helped me shape what I’d like to do in the foreseeable future.

This change matters a lot because it helps me get a understanding of the value of money, how to budget, what I like about my major, field and company size, how I can shape myself to be a better business professional and the steps I need to take to achieve these things.  To begin STEP really makes you sit down and come up with a budget that you think you’ll need and forces you to stick to that budget.  This is really good as one can become really complacent really easily if the only thing in mind is the short term focus.  Thus I learnt how much it costs for rent, food, gas, clothing and it gives me a better sense of how I should budget while living off campus in college and even look to how I’ll be living post-graduation.  I learnt that I actually really like programming and I like learning about the mainframes which is significantly different than my focus as a EE in electrical engineering at Ohio state.  Although what I’m learning is slightly dissimilar to the interests that I develop I learnt that what I will be learning in my major will give me a full encompassed understanding of the tech world that has come to consume our world.  Thus I have a greater appreciation for my classes and for my major which motivates me more in school.  I also learnt that I don’t like working at a small company.  Although interning at a small company means that my responsibilities were higher since a lot of work needed to always be done it also didn’t have the set environment that I usually like.  I like working in teams, having meetings and working collectively to achieve a greater goal.  Now I understand that individual work will always be there but working at a small company means a lot more individual work as more people take on smaller responsibilities.  Thus this upcoming summer I would like to work for a huge conglomerate such as Honeywell or JP Morgan Chase.  As I look into my future and see who I want to be I have come to understand that being a great business professional requires two things, soft skills and hard skills.  The hard skills come from the technical background that I am developing through an engineering degree at Ohio State.  But the soft skills such as communication are only developed through practice and getting to understand what people want.  Thus I want to go to more networking events, and join more clubs and get involved more on campus so that I can constantly practice these things.  Overall STEP allowed me to enjoy an experience in a more structured manner.

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