During the past month and a half at E[nstitute], I have experienced more than I could’ve possibly imagined. Looking back, the two weeks of boot camp definitely set the pace for the next two years of our apprenticeships through back-to-back projects to event planning on $100 budgets—all with unexpected issues and changes popping up left and right. What hit me the hardest, however, was not the workload or fast-paced environment, but rather the sudden passing of my grandmother just one week into boot camp. That experience alone opened my eyes to the true nature of uncertainty and taught me not only how to grieve but how to balance family and work at the same time.
Being a firm believer that from every negative event, whether it be tragedy or failure, there is a positive lesson to be learned and growth to be made, I can say that all of my experiences during boot camp have in one way or another prepared me for my apprenticeship under Hilary Mason at Bitly From the past three weeks of my apprenticeship, I have learned many things about myself and the environment around me. For example, I’ve realized I work best when I have a deep and full understanding of what is going on at a company. At Bitly specifically, I noticed that my lack of knowledge about the enterprise-facing product limited my creativity in developing a platform marketing strategy and so I made it a priority to sit in on a sales demo. In addition, after my first few days of work, it quickly became apparent that there was a huge learning curve for me on the data science team in order to develop in python and be able to contribute value to the rest of my incredibly intelligent coworkers—many of who held PhDs in a number of areas. However, after attending a Tech@NYU event and listening to Cindy Gallop, the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.com, say that in order to disrupt an industry or change the world you must be willing to disrupt yourself, I realized that I needed to be comfortable with embracing uncomfortable situations, which in my case was the daunting task of getting good at Python in a short period of time.
After accepting my lack of experience with data, I realized there was no longer anything stopping me from making up for it by closing the gap from what I knew today and what I needed to know tomorrow. Increased self-awareness and the simple act of acknowledging where I fell short served as the source of my motivation, and since then I’ve realized that I learn best under the pressure of performance expectations set by both Hilary and E[nstitute] as well as myself. Fortunately, Hilary has been really great at helping me reach those expectations by not only giving me challenging tasks but also inviting me to high-level events where I can meet and learn from people like Todd Park, the Chief Technology Officer of the United States.
So, it is the prospect of new experiences like the ones mentioned above that excites me the most about the next two years I spend at E[nstitute]—and what a journey that will be.