Friday June 18th

Reflections on the Week (RLOS, internship, crazy week, puzzles)

This week was pretty crazy!

  • This week, I got up at 3am Monday through Friday, attended the Nordic Probabilistic AI workshop (which ran until noon each day), skipped a bit near the end to attend some other meetings or take a nap, and then continued on to my internship hours from noon to 8pm each day. Yes; it is absolutely true that near the end of the week, I was very burned out. In fact, I used my lunch time today to take a nap, and I’m pretty sure there was snoring. There was also a time or two I started a call (not at my internship; I was very awake for that time!), started taking notes and then woke up to see the presenter had ended the call. So yeah, it was rough.
  • I still have some work to do for a pass/fail course for graduate credit that isn’t due until August 18th (it’s a research paper with data and code to be evaluated); I will start working on that this weekend, along with continuing the work from MSR and my ZK Proof toy project. Yes; I have scheduled everything out!
  • In the middle of all of that, I had some meetings and other commitments that needed to be scheduled and attended. So it was a lot of juggling. But it’s over, and I am going to take this evening to relax a bit.
  • Somehow this week, I managed to submit a paper, give a poster presentation, give a talk, do my internship, do my MSR work, attend two fellowship meetings, other meetings related to duties, and one recruitment PhD event, and do an interview for an organization (ie not a recruitment interview; yours truly is holding off on all of those right now).
  • A lot of people have messaged me over the course of the week, and I hope they know I’m okay; just super busy! It’s been a very busy two weeks!

I am taking part in a Puzzle Hunt!

  • I’m participating in a Puzzle hunt, and got on a team! What has surprised me most was how welcoming everyone was; any opportunity where people have to get into groups usually gives me a lot of anxiety, because I’m typically (unless someone is kind) the odd-person out, or at least, it often feels that way. So it’s usually eternal dread that no one will want to be in a team with me, and I’ll just have to sit it out. Not so with this group. It almost made me cry.
  • Anyone who is used to being the odd person out, a little bit of a weirdo, or not quite someone who fits in knows what I’m taking about. After a while, you just expect you’ll be on your own with respect to these sorts of activities.

RLOS and internship

  • We started digging into what the user woud expect using the library, which was super interesting! I am perpetually astounded by how humble and knowledgeable my MSR mentors are! I love working with them, and we tacked on a Monday to work together as well! So I’m really happy, and plan to chip away at this over the weekend! Also, as I had said before, I won’t be talking about any details regarding my internship project (which is highly confidential), so all of this stuff I’m revealing is for my open source MSR opportunity. I was showing them notes I took from a talk I liked, and scrolled up and apparently had no notes for the talk before that, because I had fallen asleep by accident. Oops.
  • At my intership, after my lunch break/ nap, I reconnected with my team and I felt really humbled by how chill everyone has been, and how competent. It’s been a really pleasant experience for me. Maybe I spook myself, but sometimes I imagine in terrible places the intern walks around and the senior staff is huddling around whispering to themselves, rolling their eyes, saying “oh no; the intern’s coming this way”, with a sigh of frustration. It definitely doesn’t feel that way here; everyone includes you and wants you to succeed. And that makes you want to work really hard and to participate. Maybe it isn’t like this at every org, but it’s been really a positive experience for me thus far.

What’s next?

  • I’ve been invited to a couple recruiting events, and have my fellowship to do (including an Expo next week! I’m super excited about that!). But my internship is the bulk of my focus, along with my MSR work. You definitely get the sense that they’ve spent a lot of time planning our projects, discussing how they can help you, and what resources they can provide to make sure you have a good experience. And that feels really great. Not only that, but they also come in with the expectation that they want to have a longer-term relationship with, which is very different than looking at an intern as a short-term, cheap labour entity. So that also influences how supportive of you they are in terms of introducing you to other teams, helping you to understand how things fit together, and helping you see the bigger picture. Because in their mind, it’s a long-term cultivation, which is really awesome.
  • Anyways, I should not spend all of my time being exhausted, so I’m probably going to log off soon. But I’d like to say that when I have experienced these good support structures, I want everyone to have these kinds of experiences, too, and to be shielded from the toxic ones that make people give up, burn out and hate everything. So I’ve been taking notes about how in the future, when I have more of that ability to enact that kind of change, I can facilitate that.

And that’s it

Written on June 18, 2021