What have I learned about the city I’m working in? At Merit Network, I have had the pleasure to stay in Ann Arbor throughout the summer. So beyond finding the nearest Vietnamese restaurants to our building, I can’t say I’ve learned much more than I did during the school year. However, I have learned quite a lot about a different kind of setting – an office.
Compared to past jobs I have had – including two summers of farm work – an office is a whole new place for me. Granted, I did work at Merit Network over the school year but never more than 3-4 hours at a time. This summer has brought 8 hour days and 40 hour weeks which lends a different kind of experience. I have my own desk next to my fellow interns in the Research and Security department where we work alongside industry professionals with decades worth of experience, accolades, and academic degrees. As an undergraduate sophomore, it’s both a humbling and motivating atmosphere.
Recently, I attended my first company-wide meeting. Many different topics were discussed from the results of a successful promotion to plans for the future. There was even a small skit! It was nice to watch my coworkers, so often busy with work, to take a moment and have fun sharing their recent successes. I’m already looking forward to the next monthly meeting.
There are other aspects of office culture that while unremarkable, I hadn’t considered before. HIPPA training for HR, taking a company photograph, troubleshooting company servers in the basement, and themed company meeting rooms to name a few. Not to mention everyone’s favorite ‘bagel Wednesdays!’ Learning basic office procedure has been an unexpected, but certainly useful result of this internship.
Overall, I’m not sure yet if an office environment will be what I return to in the future. I can say though, that my time at Merit Network has certainly made the thought much more appealing.