This summer was my first quarter without classwork since the beginning of my college career (about time). For the first half of the summer, I felt deeply unmotivated, mainly precipitated due to the lack of internship I had. How would my life look like without structure now?
• ENGR 321, internship credit!
June 11-17, 2022 | subverted perspectives
Spring 2022 beat me down. After a tough quarter of tough classes, research, projects, and a failed recruiting season, my mom knew she needed to get me out of the state and relax. For my first time in Hawai'i, we forwent a car rental and moved around entirely on our feet and public transportation, my favorite activity to do in any new city. Through traveling with just my mom, I got to get a lot closer to her and to what made me feel alive — being in warm water, on top of mountains, and in the middle of cities and crowds of people, experiencing moments instead of digging my head into my laptop.
A change of perspective is often needed to realize just how far you've gotten.
camping dad life
July 9, 2022 | subverted perspectives
Early in the summer, I got another chance to step away from work. This time, it was my first time ever camping (glamping, in this case) with friends, as I'd only gone with family until now. In the past, I would've been scared to leave my parents, wondering what would happen with my eating issues or if my clothes were to get dirty. At Lake Tyee, an hour and a half away from my parents, I grilled and made cocktails for my friends, explored a wilderness, and had deep conversations on my own, morphing into the "dad" of the group (a title I proudly took on).
July 18, 2022 | career track
While taking "life" breaks to relax, I continued volunteering on the nanomechanics project that I started in January. I'd been making real progress on my work, but I felt sluggish, demotivated by a lack of a paid engineering internship experience. At this point, I felt like I was reaching a dead end in my composite mechanics interests, but what else was I going to do with so much time on my hands?
One day, in the composites shop in the basement of the Mechanical Engineering Building, I ran into photographers from the Aeronautics & Astronautics department taking advertising shots for another composites project. They graciously offered to take photos of me for free. In that moment, I felt extremely official in a way I hadn't in the past; after looking at the (great) photos, I didn't like how unkempt and demotivated I looked in them.
Maybe it was time for a change?
August 10, 2022 | subverted perspectives
That change would be pushed on me soon, as my first paid internship experience was just around the corner! (Somewhat) miraculously, Chiplytics, a local electronics startup, offered me a Mechanical Engineering Intern position, working with consumer-grade manufacturing tools to help develop a line of new products to analyze computer chips. I made sure that all of my work inside and outside of academics was properly leveraged in this role, ramping up quickly to take ownership of the part of the product I was assigned to work on and the prototyping and testing processes surrounding it. I was only working part-time and the pay wasn't the best, but the experience I've gained so far has been validating of my skills and incredibly motivating to continue building those same skills. (The best part? They wanted me to come back for the fall after just 4 weeks on the job! I'm a true professional now!)