Hello dear future intern,
A bit about me; my name is Koral, and I interned with Sense about Science in August 2017. I knew about this charity because I noticed every year one person from the Charity Insights Scheme chooses it. So, I assume every year after me, interns from Imperial will keep coming here. Therefore, I have chosen to write my blog in the format of a diary to you, dear future intern; though everyone else is welcome to read my adventures as well of course. I plan on writing 3 posts, all of them in retrospect. They will encapsulate the beginning, middle, and end periods of my internship.
Right, so first day of work. When coming into the office, the only people I knew were Chris and Ana, because I had interviewed them. They both had seemed very friendly. I had the kind of nervousness that betrays you by showing up at the last second. I got introduced to everyone by first name. I did not know anyone’s roles, and I still don’t. The office is a single room where everyone is open to communication, people tend to have things they’re currently working on more than roles. This has made me realise I’d actually quite like working for a small company. I like having a say in everything that is being done, as long as I have the competence and desire. Then I jumped into my first monday headlines meeting, where people go through the week’s work. Lots of acronyms got thrown around, my notes had lots of question marks next to them because I had no idea what was going on. Then I was given a little guidebook, a Gmail account, and access to their server. Hectic first day. Oh also, everyone has a favourite cup in the office. I personally recommend the plain ones! Next thing on the list was getting assigned a newspaper. The first half an hour every morning is spent by reading different newspapers, and then discussing anything that might be relevant to the charity. It’s quite a nice routine, I opted for waking up half an hour late in the mornings and reading it on my way. My assigned newspaper was the Metro, which I spent a shameful amount of time looking for in stores before I realised it was distributed for free at stations. They also took me out on welcome lunch and paid for everything, which was awfully nice of them.
Anyway, enough babbling on. Time to talk business. For the first week, I did some odd jobs here and there. A noteworthy part was preparing lots of folders and documents for the Maddox Prize. It certainly didn’t help that their number of nominations compared to last year had doubled to more than 100. Now, on the surface this was a classic case of grunt-work for an intern. However, I was ready to take initiative and blow my co-workers’ minds (slight exaggeration but let me have my dreams). I went to my old friend Google for advice on shortcuts. I quickly taught myself some VBA (turns out you can program in Excel, who knew!) and AutoHotKey (had to download software for this one). I also found a little .exe application called Text2Folders. These allowed me lightning speed, and I am fairly confident I made up for the time I spent researching and more. Now admittedly, this was a risky move from me. My attempts at making this work could have been for nothing, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing for the most part. What I loved though, is no one told me to stop wasting time on it. They just left everything to me. As a result, I got it done faster than expected, left them a little guide on how they can replicate the process in future years (you’re welcome future intern), made the work interesting, and gained skills from it. I think this is a good example of why you should get an intern. Worst case scenario, you do the work. Best case scenario, you provide a solution from a new perspective.
My other work included writing a Reddit post for their Plant Science Panel, and making my first contributions to their Ask for Evidence campaign! More on that later.
Until next time!