Summer Time: Satiating The Mind, Body, & Soul

radhika_2013 Viterbi Summer Leave a Comment

So it’s summertime, but I wouldn’t quite describe the livin’ as easy. Rather, it’s been challenging, rewarding, hyper-productive, adventurous, and enjoyable. It’s hard to believe I have been out of school for over a month. Everything is moving so quickly! Let me first try to summarize the main points, and that begins with a listing of what I am up to this summer. I guess the biggest aspect of this summer for me is that I am once again interning at Qualcomm. However, this summer, rather than being a hardware engineering intern, I am working in Technical Accounts Management (TAM). Basically, Qualcomm manufactures chipsets for all these electronic companies (our customers) that make end-user products, like phones, tablets, etc. There are TAMs designated for every one of these customers and specific regions of the world, which track the status of these projects and work directly with both customers and Qualcomm’s engineering teams to make sure everything gets done! TAMs are also engineers, but they don’t physically engineer any products or debug any issues that arise. Rather, they keep track of whole projects ( usually 7-10 at any given time, for a TAM with just one customer!) and serve as middle men for completion. Having engineering expertise is incredibly important in this job, but negotiation tactics are even more key. It’s all about keeping your customer happy while still keeping workloads realistic for your own engineers. What I’ve learned so far is that being a TAM is an art form in itself. I’ve had the great fortune of actually getting to sit in on customer meetings and watch my mentor and manager do their thang!

The Mind: What I love about this job is that I see my work going to use immediately. I help customers book time in our labs to test their products during various phases of development, while also getting them any equipment they need. A bulk of my responsibility thus far has been to analyze data from all projects for specific companies and break it down in a way that is useful, and draw meaningful conclusions from it that can be applied to doing business in the future. The first big presentation I made was actually a “101” about the basics of moving into the television industry (manufacturing chipsets for television). I had to make a lot of inferences based on only one single past project, talk to experts and get their input, and do a lot of guesswork. In the process of doing these things, I have learned and incredible amount about the technical process of making a phone. I can cite to you the most common issues that arise in various stages of development, and the timeline for manufacturing and releasing feature phones, smartphones, and tablets. Can I also just say it’s awesome to know about basically every electronic device slated for release on every major carrier all over the world for the rest of year and into the next one? I am so fortunate to have landed this job. It’s the perfect combination of picking up both more technical knowledge, and valuable business and negotiation skills. I’ve already become a total boss at using salesforce, and using macros in Excel. I’ve also made great friends on the floor I work. Since I’m the only TAM intern, everyone is super nice (not that they wouldn’t be otherwise). My office isn’t actually in the same suite as my team since there were no spare desks. So I get to kick it with all the Customer Engineering  Senior HW Engineers.

However, work hasn’t been the only big part of my summer. I also started an LSAT prep course a few weeks ago. Thus far, I have to say Blueprint (the test prep company) is amazing. The online course is fantastic! Once I entered my course start date and target test date online, Blueprint came up with a customized schedule for me of when to complete lessons, and the actual lessons are super comprehensive and entertaining. The instructors make great pop cultural references and give easy to remember examples. Plus the videos are interactive and have supplementary prep books with practice questions and drills as I go along. I honestly felt my score increase by 10 points after the first three videos. I definitely look forward to doing my coursework when I get home from work. If all goes well, I might actually get into law school after all:) When I’m not at work or taking my class, I’ve been planning events for the upcoming semester with NOBE, a student org I’m involved with on campus. Currently, I’m piecing together a huge networking event for fall that is centered on Wireless Health. Get excited!

So that covers how my mind has been satiated. Now

The Body: One word: INSANITY. Yes, it’s true. I’m officially in week 2 of the Insanity workouts. They are kicking my ass, but it’s great. My mommy wakes me up at 6:15am every morning (I moved back home for this purpose) and I sweat it out for about an hour. It’s great, because the workouts are over with before I even get to work, and they keep me wired throughout the day. Also, since I’ve moved back home, this means I have secured the privilege of my mother’s cooking once more! She makes me healthy Indian and non-Indian delights alike to take for lunch, and is even sweet enough to blend my breakfast shake for me before work. If that wasn’t enough, that amazing woman is finally teaching me how to cook too! This past weekend we made a mint rice pilaf together. I brought some to my coworkers and the reviews were very positive. I look forward to acquiring her encyclopedia’s worth of food knowledge over the next few years. But for now, weekends cooking together are a great start! When I do spend an occasional evening in my apartment, I also indulge in a zumba/hip-hop/salsa class, all of which are a ton of fun, especially when done with some of my fellow interns that live in those complexes. Oh and I almost forgot: I had this skin treatment called Cosmelan done, to reverse the effects of sun damage. I LOVE the results. I won’t be able to spend long periods of time in the sun for a while,but it’s so worth it to see my skin glow again the way it used to, free form blemishes or anything unwanted (I know, I sound like an info-mercial). But I’m seriously in love with my skin. Hopefully this skinful bliss (ahhh get it!?) lasts me until I’m back at ‘SC. Overall, I’d say I’m doing a good job of making amends to my body for all the damage I caused it during finals.

INSANITY WORKOUT

That about covers the body. Which finally brings us to

The Soul: Because I’m me, and my life isn’t complete without amazing people, I have made sure to indulge in plenty of time with people I love. The highlight of my summer thus far was a mini-reunion Memorial Day weekend with a bunch of my ‘SC friends in Northern California. I asked for a super touristy trip, and that is what I got! San Francisco was gorgeous, and I got to experience all the sights my touristy heart desired, from Fisherman’s Wharf, to the Golden Gate, to Twin Peaks, all the way to Ghiradelli Square. It.was.glorious. Plus, we timed our visit with the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, which meant the greatest firework show I’ve ever seen in my life, accompanied by a stellar soundtrack featuring Journey and Train among others. I have a new top “Don’t Stop Believing” sing-a-long from that night:) Other than that, I’ve been catching up with old friends when time permits, having fun with the interns, and hanging out with my family. We took an impromptu trip to Malibu last weekend and went to temple, taking the PCH on the way back. Now that is my idea of soul food! Ok, I’m done being cheesy,  promise.

Now the rest of summer will be dedicated to more of the same, plus finding furniture for the new house I will be moving into this fall. I’m so excited to see where these next two months take me. I plan to treasure absolutely every moment, because, as the beloved Jack Dawson once said:

“I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you… to make each day count.” 

So here’s to making it count friends. Fight on!

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