“Slack?” my mom asked me when I told her where I’d be interning for the summer. “What’s Slack?”
Slack is one of the fastest growing enterprise software companies today, and a place where I’ve been fortunate enough to work for the past few months. At a company that values playfulness, empathy, and craftsmanship, I’ve been able to learn more about my career goals, foster meaningful relationships with the people around me, and enjoy the culture of a company that’s grown from 20 employees to 800 in the past three years.
The first thing I’ve learned is that because time flies when you’re having a good time, it’s even more important to set serious goals for the summer. Slack prides itself in giving its interns autonomy over their projects and allowing them to take ownership of a certain feature. By setting feasible goals each week, I’ve been able to keep myself accountable for what I do this summer and see progress from each week to the next.
It’s also important to realize that you shouldn’t throw away your opinions just because you’re an intern. It’s easy for us as college students to think that more experienced engineers are always right, but that isn’t always the case. At Slack, interns are encouraged to voice their opinions, especially on design decisions or at workshops where everyone’s ideas are bounced around. Of course, it’s good to keep in mind that your mentor and teammates around you are available to help you if you ever have questions about anything!
Finally, I’ve truly come to appreciate the value of a work-life balance this summer. With a close-knit intern class of 40 students from around the country, it’s easy to be distracted during the workday. I’ve slowly developed a routine that allows me to finish all my tasks during the day and also gives me the opportunity to bond with other interns outside of work. As the motto around the office goes, “work hard and go home.” It’s a brief but valuable reminder to always remember the importance of your personal life.
Every internship is different, but the best part is that your experience is up to you to decide! Make the most of it, and enjoy your summer!