Posts Tagged ‘Internship’

Internship and Volunteerism

I have been slowly updating on events I went to or things I observed in San Francisco in this blog for last few weeks. It’s been a very fulfilling few weeks, which unfortunately slowed down my writing quite a bit. The most exciting event of all is… I started an internship! Unpaid, but I am enjoying the learning opportunity.

As of this month, I have officially started as an Advocacy Outreach Intern at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. I have always love architecture history and its effect on community development and cultural changes, which why I eventually decided to pursue the Art History minor and almost got the Anthropology minor (realize I wouldn’t get enough classes in time…). When I got to San Francisco and tried to continue bicycling in SF, I notice how much transportation plays into the role of community planning in the city. For one thing, bicycle commuting in the Bayview district is notoriously dangerous. When I look into tips on how to bicycle in SF, I learned about the Coalition. In the last few months, I have attended several events and had really enjoyed them. At the same time, through those events and my membership at SPUR (the local urban planning organization), I really got into the urban revolution that is going on in the city, which was charaterized by the combination of America Cup and the new campus of UCSF. Living in the Bayview, an area that is also going through rapid re-development, allows me to experience that change even more. So when I learn about the internship… I joined.

Of course, that was one of several things that has been going on. I have also started helping at Rebuilding Together – in term of making calls to Cantonese-speaking clients – and Water Conservation Showcase – in term of prepping materials. I have been looking forward to the National Rebuilding Day in April and the Water Conservation Showcase this coming Tuesday. I attended the Showcase last year, and it had been a blast. This year, they will have GBCI CEU credits to boot! I had fun meeting other people in the sustainability field while prepping materials, so I have a feeling I will have a great time volunteering during the actual event as well. For Rebuilding Together, to my own surprise, translation has taught and intrigued me more than I expected. I found myself enjoying being able to help others. I learned some new words as well. I am looking forward to working with the tools during the National Rebuilding Day though – learn by doing is the saying of my college, after all.

I have been attending events at SPUR and PEC as usual, but I have also started attending a series of free WordPress workshops. One of the most recent tool I learned is Buddypress. I probably wouldn’t be using it now since this is an individual blog, but I can see that it will be a real power tool in an office environment.

I have also been dipping into my own hobbies by volunteering and attending at events like Sunday Street, Orchid Expo, and Green Film Festival. Wouldn’t go into detail about those – I plan to write a blog post about them. Teaser: My volunteer position at Sunday Street was “Route Rabbit” and the Orchid Expo has Golden Gate as theme this year. Photos though, can now be seen in my Flickr account!

Yes, I have also set up my Flickr account and started posting photos on there.

Like I say, its been some busy weeks. I think things are settling again though, so I will start posting updates about the events.


Internship officially starts in the coming Monday

Oh~ The long waited Internship! I am so nervous. I haven’t worked in three years (unless you count teaching skating, which I did again in the summer after my freshman year.). I really hope I don’t do anything stupid. If you are in high school, doing stupid things is a guarantee event and people is a lot more forgiving (especially if you look like you are still in middle school). If you are a college student on the other hand, there’s a completely different expectation. Alas, what will come must come. I shall face it with my best effort and my ever cheerful smile.

Dang, my cup of Americano has really shot my energy to the top of the… energy chart. I haven’t had serious full cup coffee and a good night of sleep in a few day due to my tooth pain, root canal treatment, and my final presentation for my studio class. My coffee tolerance has gone down dramatically, and my full night of nice, happy sleep has completely sent me into hyperactive mode!



I will be working in my new firm starting the coming Monday. I have already meet them two times though. The first time was my orientation. My mentor basically introduce me to some of the people in the office. It seems to be a busy day though, and not a lot of people was in. I notice a group of teenagers outside the doors. I later found out they were holding a construction class for them (hence the yellow construction hat and orange outfit). My mentor was in a meeting himself. As a result, it went pretty quickly. I smile a lot, try to shake everyone’s hand… it went surprisingly smooth. Sure, my conversation was a bit dull and stress – I really should just smile and not try to talk if I can’t come up with a good sentence, cause it sounds unnatural for me and any jokes I made sounds just awkward – but I wasn’t as nervous as I expected. My smile comes real naturally too. I was smiling before I realize it. I guess I just got use to being happy, cheerful, and smiley in office environment (I mean, I worked as a teacher and volunteered in a hospital. Teaching and healing – everyone who work in those field always has somewhat of a good heart).

My feet hurt though. I did the stupid thing of wearing a new dressing shoe without testing it on a non-work day. Turn out the materials are too tough for my feet. My feet form blister, which eventually broke. By the end of the day, my left heel was soaked in blood. It sounds and looks horrifying, but it really isn’t that bad once I washed it. It hurts unbelievably for wound of that scale, but it’s just rubbed skin. I have to walked funny for the next few days, but it’s nothing like the tooth pain I got a few weeks later.

Er… I don’t even want to think about the pain I was in. *Shudders* What is it with me and painful illness this quarter!? *Flips over imagery table*

*Deep breath*

Continuing on…….

The next time I entered the office was October 22, the day before my final presentation. My instructor wanted us to ask our firm for material sample used in our projects. I was suppose to sent in the weekends. But that was the weekend that I got my tooth pain, which was not relieve until Monday afternoon.

I spent Monday night making up the two days of sleep that I missed. Then I waked up extra early (Which surprised my parents, who went on asking me if I am in pain again. Thankfully, I was awake because I fell asleep right after I eat dinner and I have such a nice nap that I wake up without an alarm clock). I spent the next few hour trying to get as much work as I can before seeing my instructor for my review. It was scheduled at 9:30. I had missed the class review on Monday because my emergency dental appointment, and I really want it to get some review before the final presentaion, despite the fact I didn’t get as much done as I wanted.

Of course, I did worked a bit in the weekend for my project. Just cause I am in pain doesn’t mean I can’t work. I am just a lot less motivated and extra slow (Not sleep does that to my brain. I can never work without at least some hour of sleep each day. People who can do all-nighter for more than one day always baffles me.) The review went well. I was surprisingly happy the whole day. I am just really happy cause I finally have some good sleep.

I spent Tuesday working more on my project, so I can email some of drawing to my teacher for some extra review before the final presentation. Before I know it, it was Wednesday! I then realize I still haven’t email my firm about the sample, as well as the fact that I will missed work because I have a class assignment on October 27 and a dental appointment on November 2 (I went to root canal specialist, which is not open on weekends). I emailed my mentor and told him about the situation. As usual, I recheck my email several time to make sure I have the right tone, translate my message well, and did not make any idoitic grammatical or language error. To my relief, I can meet him on Thursday afternoon. Again, I put on my beautiful yet painful dress shoe (because I stll haven’t brought a new one yet – I wasn’t expecting to wear it so soon). Thankfull, this time I have gotten a pair of heel pads. I still feel the pressure, but no blister this time for me!

I walked into the office for the second time. This time, he was not in a meeting. Instead, he was sitting at his work space – at the end of the room next to the window. It was unnerving walking over there at first. I can feel everyone looking at me (Or looking-while-pretending-not-to-be-looking) as I work over to his space. It’s not everyday that you see a middle schooler walking right in the middle of a office (I know, I am in college. It doesn’t mean that I look like one, no matter what I wear). This time, a lot more people is in the office. Half way there, I notice he was on the phone. I immediately turned around and walked toward the waiting area. Almost immediately, some of the people starting asking if they can help me with something. I told them I am just looking for my mentor and went to sit down at the meeting area.

Eventually, my mentor and I met. He then introduce me to everyone aloud. It was very interesting. I had worked in Burea of Architecture and Burea of Construction Management. Both are governmental firm, and both are formal. There were cubicles everywhere and no one can see anyone. Talking aloud is just not done.

Here, every thing is very open. It just tables, and there’s no wall in most work space. I think this will be a very interesting experience. This time things went more smoothly. I tried to talk more naturally, and not force myself as much. Again, a lot of smile and handshaking. Everyone seems relax and friendly. I recognized a most of the people who had their photo posted on the firm website, which was great since I am usually not that good with matching faces to name. My mentor and his boss later helped me with finding material. I got two wood samples. We talked a bit about what I will be doing on Monday morning. My mentor wouldn’t be in the office on Monday because of work. I hope everything will go well…… well, like the Chinese saying: “When the boat reaches the coast, it will straighten naturally.”. I will just have to give my best!