Walking into the office on the first day, I had absolutely no idea what I signed up for. My contact person from Helpful had been very hush hush. Vaguely in my head were the words: “startup business”, “innovation”, and “artificial intelligence”.
My first impression of the office? Magnificent. Colorful sticky notes littered every surface and the framed whiteboards were scribbled with checklists and flowcharts and graphs and nonsensical tech jargon that only added to the mystery. It was an organized kind of chaos and it was perfect.
I learned that essentially, my job was to write stuff. I focused on inbound marketing and creating “remarkable content” that could be shared online. Navigating through articles and reports, I looked for connections between conventional wisdom, original insights, and our company's vision. I wrote about business culture, innovation, leadership, unblocking, corporate social responsibility, and lessons to be learned from unlikely places. I learned about brevity as a virtue of communication and I learned how to write so that every word counts.
More importantly, I learned what it means to be a part of a team. At a startup company of 15 other people, you're a member of a talented, tight-knit, and committed community. As the youngest person there, there was no shame in being bright-eyed, inexperienced, and eager to learn. It's never good to be the smartest person in the room, and I can assure you that wasn't the case during my internship.
I distinctly remember a guest speaker at SHAD who told us that “knowledge is useless” in big, angry letters. It was blasphemy. Thirteen years in school has told us to absorb as much knowledge as humanly possible (it supposedly prepares us for life as successful, high-functioning adults). I don't know about useless, but I do know that knowledge can be learned. Far more valuable than knowledge is experience. As an intern, everyone becomes your teacher and you get to experience everything.
I'm very lucky for the opportunity to work with 15 amazing people who have a very ambitious goal to achieve. They've given me the freedom to experiment and the power to make an impact wherever I can. I can't be sad that it's over - only happy that it happened, and inspired to experience something new every day.