My STEP Signature Project this past summer involved interning at a potential company that I may work for full-time and learning to become independent. I mainly designed civil portions of bid packages for oil and gas project utilizing AutoCAD Civil 3D and coordinated with project team members to finalize design bid packages. I also spent the summer learning to care for myself on my own by exercising and learning to cook nutritious meals after work.
My original understanding of myself was that I was going to be given small tasks that would minimally build my knowledge and character. After onboarding at the firm however, I noticed that my internship was going to demand for me to push myself and be placed in uncomfortable situations. For instance, I was given tasks and design work with real deadlines and was scheduled to present in team meetings in front of full-time engineers and project managers. I was also sharing some of the assigned work with new-hires, realizing the change of difficulty in work assigned to me. EN Engineering pushed me to use not only the knowledge I have acquired at Ohio State, but to also learn on the job new concepts and information about the oil industry. The company wanted me to fully take advantage of the real-life work and opportunities that they were willing to provide me this past summer.
I also assumed that I would not do any activity other than watching television after work because of my exhaustion with work and my daily, overall two-hour commute. However, I began to notice the change in my routine after work when I joined a gym as my motivation to do something other than watch television after work. I started packing gym clothes to go directly after work to not be unmotivated if I went home first. I also saw a change in myself by becoming more aware of my nutrition. I started cooking less processed meals and aiming to only eat home-cooked meals. I also aimed to get at least eight hours of sleep to be able to fully throw myself into work as well as the gym after work.
My relationship my mentor assigned to me at work was one of the factors that lead to the change in work experiences. My mentor was not afraid to teach me concepts that I would later learn back at school. He knew that by giving me the opportunity to learn, I could then be pushed to apply the skills to assigned work projects he had at his possession. I was given mini lectures and notes by my mentor that then gave me the confidence to try design projects from clients. My relationship with my mentor also gave me the confidence to ask any question, therefore allowing myself to continue to grow in knowledge and personally.
My interaction with other coworkers contributed to the change in tasks. More workers took the time to stop by and greet me and learn more about myself and my capabilities. This then led to more opportunities to try new projects in other departments like the gas sector. For instance, a young engineer at the company was swamped with work and after talking to my mentor and I, he thought we could both help each other by dividing up the work. I was able to try a new design skill with the help of my mentor and the opportunity given to me with the interaction of the young engineer. For example, I learned a new software called Hydraflow Storm Sewers Expansion program and sized a storm sewer layout for a commercial plant. These work experiences I was receiving were not fetching coffee but fulfilling the role of an entry level engineer at my summer firm.
Going directly to the gym after work led to avoiding watching television until work the next day. I found myself wanting to take care of myself after a long semester at school of putting self-care on the side. Packing my gym bag and a snack made me avoid seeing the sight of my couch after work and instead going to cycling classes to let off the daily stress or reflect on my day at work. After two weeks, I made it a habit to go straight to the gym after work. I begin to also fuel myself for a full day of work and working out afterwards by cooking my own healthy meals. I checked out cookbooks from the library and spent the majority of the week eating home cooked meals to optimize my nutrition. I did my own grocery shopping and read labels and picked unprocessed foods as my main ingredients in my daily meals. I spent the summer transforming into a person that is capable of taking care of themselves without family support.
These two main changes are significant in my life because they align with my professional and personal goals. One of my goals is to work as a consultant, and this past summer I was given the opportunity to design real projects for clients. I can use this experience for upcoming internships and my full-time by being able to apply what I learned in the projects given to me at EN Engineering. Also, the skills and knowledge I gained can be applied to the remaining coursework I will taking at Ohio State as well as in my next opportunity to work professionally. The change in regards to becoming more independent is valuable because when I graduate, I will need to know how to take care of myself while working and being away from my family. Learning to cook healthy meals and making exercise a daily habit allow me to see that I can work wherever I want because this summer allowed me to see that I am capable of being independent.