My Eye-Opening Internship Experiences

So far sthere were at least four new eye-opening experiences in my internship thus far as I continued my internship at the Smithsonian.

I am trying a new software to use to extract some information about the SI Annual Reports data. Since I started the internship up again this spring semester, I have been trying to acclimate myself with writing code again after a few months. I’m learning about spaCy, an open-source Natural Language Processing Python library.

I’m noticing that the skills that I learned in my undergraduate career with computer science and some work experience has helped me understand this library. To be honest, right now I’m only in the first few chapters of learning about this Python library but I’m optimistic that learning about it will be useful.

The second eye-opening experience is learning more about my work habits. My initial expectation was that I would spend most of my time on the weekends working on my internship but I’ve noticed and learned from last semester that that is not sustainable and I need to work at least 1-2 hours a day to learn more about my project. My goal for this semester is to spend at least 1-2 hours a day on my internship work. I think that this should be doable with the possible coding work that I need to do to understand the data.

The third unexpected experience was during the course of last semester, I had a difficult time connecting to the sources . I was trying to understand how and what I should gather from the data. I do not think that I fully understood the data until I took time to reflect on the work that I did and what it meant. I have also noticed about myself in this internship is it helps to keep myself motivated in my work when I have an idea of the intended vision/end result of the project is going to be.

The fourth experience I have learned so far in my internship is the importance aspect of communication and feedback. I am noticing that as I do my work, it is important to make sure that I check-in and ask for feedback from my mentor to one make sure that I am delivering on what was asked. The second reason is the ability to bounce ideas on how to proceed next on this project. I have learned that I enjoy talking with people about ideas on how to do a project because it helps me connect the dots and find maybe new solutions to the problems. I am hoping to continue this trend with talking with my mentor as I continue with spaCy.

Overall, I think that as I become more familiar with the data I can being to spot trends and patterns more regularly. I also think that as I get better with managing time, continue communication with my mentor, and practicing the art of breaking down the work in smaller pieces will help me in the continuation of my internship this semester.