Because of my internship, I am able to use a variety of tools I did not know existed. I only used a small portion of what was fully available, but it was a good place to start off with to see what was possible. I am also now able to look at big data sets and not become so overwhelmed – since now I have an idea about how to break it up and break up the workload to make it manageable.
I have also learned the ways that I like to work on a project and how to work with others. For example, I know that once I receive an assignment, I need to break down the work. I know that I like coding in both shorter and longer periods of time. No more than a few hours at a time because I noticed that my eyes would strain or I could not think about a blocking issue to resolve it. If I do use a full day, then I had to make sure to take breaks. I like the ability to talk out the work that I did and will do with someone else, in the case of this internship, with my mentor. I found that if I can bounce ideas, as a sounding board, it helps reinforce what I already know but also provide new insights as to how I can approach the problem/work.
When I initially learned about what spaCy was, I was hesitant at first because I did not know how it might help to look at the data. Besides just the regular input and output of text, using spaCy has shown what the relationships are between words in a corpus. Trying to understand all of what spaCy can do, all at once, was overwhelming. I tried to learn it all at the beginning for hours. My mentor gave the suggestion that after a while, I just get started on the coding and see what happens. That was great advice because in my mind, I wanted to know everything there is about spaCy and how to code it using the examples. It wasn’t until I started to use it on the SI Annual Reports, that I started to understand the syntax more and what the outcome could be. Sometimes you will not know how something will be until you try. I started with finding the similarity frequency of a word within a corpus, I realized that it could be used to analyze and interpret what that word might have meant in a specific time period.
I have learned the benefits of communication and keeping in sync with the work, working on a project diligently, asking for help when needed, and being open to experimentation. Trying new tools/software and learning new ways to achieve the end result has helped me to see the possibilities. There has to be, at least for me, a constant reminder to take a moment to reflect of what I did and where I want to go next in a project. It has helped to see the progress of the work that I have done since the very start of this internship.
In this internship as a whole, I have learned many things about myself, the type of work possible, and how to work effectively with others. I am grateful that I had this experience to learn these things and I cannot wait to continue the learning in my future endeavors.