Coming into Southland as a master’s student at California Polytechnic State University, I anticipated applying my education and real life experiences to my internship this summer. After spending some time with Southland’s design division in Northern California, I’ve learned a number of unexpected things.

In less than a week, I realized that what I was doing, and what everyone else was doing for that matter, was incomparable to what I had seen in school. Sure, there were small tidbits of information from school that I used for some reason or another, but an overwhelming majority of the concepts were completely new. This, more than anything, struck me as profoundly odd, and I began to understand something about the relationship between working and schooling. It dawned on me that my education has been less about teaching me theories, equations, and methods but more about teaching me how to learn and cultivate a personal drive in order to continue learning once I graduate and begin to pursue my career.

For instance, I’ve been working on the mechanical design of a data center for the past few weeks, and the complexity of the plan is mindboggling. There are so many systems and standards and methods of design that are completely foreign and new to me. It forced me into a different perspective. Stepping out of my comfort zone has enabled me to appreciate and study aspects of design that I had never considered. It’s very encouraging to be in such a supportive learning environment, and I fully intend to continue to dedicate the remainder of my time here to studying as much about Southland and the work we do.

 

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