Here are some photos of what I have mainly done the past few weeks. The first photo (far left) is of a concrete paver. Downtown Jackson, MI had road construction going on that I was able to help with. Concrete pavers are expensive and large machines so my boss wanted to make sure I took the opportunity to see one operate. The second picture is of the front of the paver and the concrete being laid in front of it. The people in the picture give an idea of how large this machine is. The basic idea behind how the paver works is that concrete is poured in front of it and the machine slowly moves forward leaving concrete underneath it untouched (which will be the future roadway) and the concrete at it’s height pushed forward. The third photo is of a machine that traveled behind the paver. This did most of the finishing work on the concrete. This finishing work including tyning the concrete (which is applying small grooves in the concrete to improve traction of traffic) and applying a coating to protect it from weather and other possible damages to the concrete. This last photo shows the coating being applied to the concrete.
This internship showed me the importance of loving your job and working close to where you live. Most of the people I work with don’t enjoy the job much (in which I somewhat agree) and this results in them constantly waiting for the weekend to arrive. This job has added to my desire to find a job that I truly love so that I can enjoy each and every day at work. Also spending 1.5 hours driving each day has given me experience commuting to work and back and I would much prefer to live closer to work so that I don’t spend as much time driving and therefore have more time for other things.
Design work for MDOT is challenging, rewarding to see the final product, but very boring most of the time. If you wish to enter this line of work, you can spend many weeks doing one task and you’ll spend a great deal of time redoing work that was previously done because the project has changed. Just be ready for the hassle.
I have enjoyed this experience though. I have now encountered a true work environment, tried different work schedules to see which I like the most, worked with Design but also got to experience other fields within Civil engineering, and got to meet some great people too. I am very pleased with this summer’s experience.